Rod McKay and National Mental Health Commissioner Lucy Brogden
Rod McKay and National Mental Health Commissioner Lucy Brogden

Dr Roderick McKay, Director of Psychiatry and Mental Health Programs at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry (NSWIOP), recently graduated from the inaugural Future Leaders in Mental Health Program conducted by the National Mental Health Commission.

The program aims to support the further development of consumer and carer mental health leaders and advocates, and find and develop the next generation of leaders. Participants were selected based on their capabilities, experience and/or potential to operate at the national level and to work with and contribute to the Commission’s vision and mission.

The program is an initiative of the National Mental Health Commission in collaboration with Mental Health Australia, and with the support of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.

A national call for nominations was undertaken in December 2013, with an independent assessment panel including people with a lived experience of mental health problems, government and business representatives reviewing over 130 nominations received from around Australia.

National Mental Health Commission Chair Prof Allan Fels said, “The Commission believes strongly in the importance of developing the capacity of the consumer and carer movement, and in the power of lived experience, whether from personal experience or supporting someone else.

We congratulate and welcome this group of mental health leaders and look forward to their ongoing contribution to mental health reform. We are all aiming and working for the same thing – helping ensure that all Australians live a contributing life, and achieve the best possible mental health and wellbeing.”

Dr McKay is proud to have graduated with ten other outstanding individuals with lived experience of mental illness. He stated that the program was a great example of how people with very different experiences and skills from across the mental health landscape can identify common goals, work together and inspire each other to achieve more.

He looks forward to using this experience, and the skills gained during the program, in his leadership role at the NSWIOP.

Following is the complete list of the National Future Leaders in Mental Health Program graduates:

  • Julie Anderson (VIC)
  • Dean Barton-Smith AM (VIC)
  • Michael Burge OAM (QLD)
  • Jen Coulls (SA)
  • Fay Jackson (NSW)
  • Lyn Mahboub (WA)
  • Sarah McFarlane-Eagle (NSW)
  • Rod McKay (NSW)
  • Lei Ning (VIC)
  • Rebecca Randall (ACT)
  • Sebastian Robertson (NSW)
Mental Health Program graduates
Pictured (L-R): JulieAnne Anderson (JA Projects Pty Ltd); National Mental Health Commissioners – Kay Patterson, Ian Hickie, Nicole Gibson; National Future Leaders In Mental Health graduates – Michael Burge, Jen Coulls, Lei Ning, Rebecca Randall, Sebastian Robertson, Fay Jackson, Rod McKay, Sarah McFarlane-Eagle; Catherine Lourey (D/CEO, National Mental Health Commission), Julie Anderson (National Future Leaders in Mental Health graduate), Frank Quinlan (CEO, Mental Health Australia), Janet Meagher (Program Co-Sponsor and ex-National Mental Health Commissioner), Dean Barton-Smith (National Future Leaders in Mental Health graduate)

People involved in the project but absent from the picture: Lyn Mahboub (National Future Leaders in Mental Health graduate), Robyn Kruk (Program Co-Sponsor and ex-CEO National Mental Health Commission), Kylie Wake (Director, Consumer and Carer Programs, Mental Health Australia)