Gallery of Honour

The Gallery of Honour showcases winners of the Exceptional Contribution Award and TheMHS Medal, the two highest awards of excellence within TheMHS Awards programme.

The Exceptional Contribution Award recognises Australian and New Zealand individuals who have made an outstanding impact on mental health service delivery.


The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, 2019 TheMHS Awards Ambassador
The Hon. Greg Hunt, MP, Federal Minister for Health, 2019 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Brenda Happell, NSW
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Brenda is Professor of Nursing, University of Newcastle. She has attracted approximately $14million in competitive research funding, published an array of manuscripts, books and book chapters. Brenda was inaugural Director of the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne, and is former Director of the Institute for Health and Social Science Research Central Queensland University and Executive Director Synergy University of Canberra. She is Fellow and Board Director of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, and former Editor of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. Brenda has been a passionate advocate for Mental Health Nursing, consumer participation and improving physical health for people diagnosed with mental illness.

Heather Casey, New Zealand
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Heather has been instrumental in important local and national developments including Nurse Practitioner development, Chairperson of the South Island Mental Health & Addictions Alliance, Past President & Credentialing Director NZ College of Mental Health Nurses and Specialist Nursing member, Health Quality & Safety Commission’s National Mental Health and Addiction Quality Improvement programme Leadership Group. At the time of winning she was Director of Nursing for Southern District Health Board.

Glove Box Guide to Mental Health
TheMHS Medal

The Glove Box Guide to Mental Health is produced with the purpose of boosting mental health literacy and reducing the alarming rates of suicide in remote, rural and regional NSW. In this time an estimated 500,000 copies have been published. It is published as an insert in The Land hardcopy and online. Copies are also distributed to RAMHP staff to add to their portfolio of advice and assistance material for the public in regional and rural communities. Extra print copies are freely available throughout the year at agricultural field days. Demand has increased from private businesses wanting copies for their staff.


The Hon. Julia Gillard AC, 2018 TheMHS Awards Ambassador
Ms Nicolle Flint MP, Member for Boothby, representing The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, 2018 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Arthur Papakotsias, VIC
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Arthur trained as a psychiatric nurse and held a vision that people with mental illness could live meaningful lives in the community. He has pursued this vision throughout his career and championed the capacity of the NGO sector to provide psychosocial and recovery focused mental health support that is complementary to clinical services. His commitment to quality service provision, evidence­ based approaches, outcomes measurement, and sharing within the sector has convinced consumers, families, governments, funders, and mental health providers that psychosocial and recovery focused supports can have a valuable impact on improving people’s lives. His commitment to the sector and 26 years of leadership at Neami have enabled him to deliver on his vision.

Warwick Smith, WA
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Warwick has championed system reform at local, state and national levels through developing high quality innovative and accessible mental health services. He led growth in the Peel and Rockingham-Kwinana Mental Health Service and Youth Mental Health, characterised by collaboration with consumers, carers and community-managed organisations. This resulted in continuity of care along the service continuum and improved service access for vulnerable patient groups. His approach to cross-sector capacity building also resulted in well-integrated mental health services with strong partnerships and formalised care coordination to address the social determinants of mental health and the physical health needs of people with mental health problems.


The Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, 2017 TheMHS Awards Ambassador
The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health, 2017 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Helen Morton, WA
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health in Australia or New Zealand

Helen Morton was the Western Australian Minister for Mental Health; Disability Services; Child Protection between 14 December 2010 – 31 March 2016. During this, Helen was responsible for significant change in the mental health landscape by leading important reform and introducing policies, plans and decisions which reinforced person-centred care, recovery focus, prevention and early intervention. During this time, WA introduced the Mental Health Act, completed the Mental Health Ten Year Plan and was the first jurisdiction in Australia to establish a Mental Health Commission.
Helen continues to be a strong supporter of the community mental health sector both politically and personally.

Pamela Rutledge receives TheMHS Award

Pamela Rutledge, NSW
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health in Australia or New Zealand

Pamela Rutledge has led innovative reforms in social policy, human and disability rights and resources in the health and community service sectors in government and community managed sectors. A Social Worker by profession, Pamela, was appointed the Executive Officer of the Richmond Inquiry in 1982. In 2012 Pamela led the successful merger of two large and longstanding community managed mental health organisations to become Flourish Australia. Pamela is currently CEO of Flourish Australia and Chair of the NSW Mental Health Co-ordinating Council, having been on its voluntary board for many years. She is also a member of the board of Community Mental Health Australia and part-time Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Mental Health First Aid
TheMHS Medal

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia is a not-for-profit health promotion charity. Its mission is to provide high quality, evidence-based mental health first aid education to everyone. Its vision is a community where everyone has the first aid skills to support people with mental health problems. MHFA Australia trains, then supports a national network of instructors, who subsequently train members of the public. MHFA training is now available in more than 20 countries and in 2017 MHFA reached a milestone of more than 2 million people trained globally.
Extensive research to inform the curriculum and to evaluate MHFA training has shown that it improves mental health knowledge, reduces stigmatising attitudes and increases helping behaviour.


Kevin Allan
Mental Health 
Commissioner at the Office of Health and Disability
New Zealand
2016 TheMHS Awards Presenter


The Hon Dr Kay Patterson
Mental Health Commissioner
2015 TheMHS Awards Presenter


Professor Fiona Stanley AC, FAA, FASSA,
Patron, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research,
Distinguished Research Professor, University of Western Australia
2014 TheMHS Awards Presenter


Senator Jacinta Collins, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Professor Allan Fels, AO, Chair, National Mental Health Commission and Dean,
Australia and New Zealand School of Government
2013 TheMHS Awards Presenters


Professor Allan Fels, AO, Chair, National Mental Health Commission and Dean,
Australia and New Zealand School of Government
2012 TheMHS Awards Presenter


Minister Mark Butler, Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
2011 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Leanne Craze, NSW
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Dr Leanne Craze’s contribution to the field of mental health is through long professional contribution since the 1980s and commitment to supporting a national mental health consumer voice and leadership of the innovation inherent in the consumer consultation and outcome of the 2009 Commonwealth Government sponsored Scoping Study to inform the Establishment of a New Peak National Mental Health Consumer Organisation.

Leanne is widely acclaimed for her expertise in social research consultancy and her extensive knowledge of and contribution to mental health policy, service design and delivery and law. Her understanding of and commitment to principles and practice of social justice are also widely acknowledged.

Leanne’s ability to identify and frame an important emerging mental health issue and to then bring groups together to address that issue, has seen her contribute to a number of significant changes.

  • As Secretary to the HREOC’s Mental Illness inquiry, Leanne contributed to the commissioner’s recommendations for reform.
  • Leanne used her knowledge of mental health law to co-draft the National Model Mental Health Laws, a blue print for legislative reform.
  • Leanne’s PhD Thesis, the Care and Control of Mentally Ill Offenders in NSW, provided a framework for legislation and service reform for mentally ill offenders, including the removal of executive discretion.
  • Leanne’s research led to the establishment of the NSW Mental Health Advocacy Service and the introduction of legal representation at mental health inquiries.

Senator Claire Moore, Senator for Queensland and
Chair of the Senate Community Affairs Committee
2010 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Isabell Collins, VIC
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Isabell Collins has made a significant contribution towards mental health reform as an active and effective voice for mental health consumers. She is well known in the mental health system at both national and state levels.

Isabell is an outstanding and determined advocate for the protection of human rights of mental health is not unusual for Ms Collins to be seen working with clients and their families long after normal office hours and on weekends. No one in need is turned away. She has been providing support and assistance to countless people living with a mental illness, inspiring people with hope.

Isabell participates in more than 20 mental health committees at all levels. She is a member of the National Mental Health Standing Committee, CHairperson of the National Mental HEalth Consumer and Carer Forum, and Member of the Victorian Mental Health Ministerial Advisory Committee.Isabell has a strong passion for her work and she is still indefatigable.

This award is in recognition of her dedication well beyond the “call of duty”, of passionate advocacy for human rights, of commitment at all levels of service planning, and for simply being there when needed. It represents our deep respect for an exceptional contribution, the results of which will flow on to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of all.


Senator Claire Moore, Senator for Queensland and
Chair of the Senate Community Affairs Committee
2009 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Betty Kitchener, VIC
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Betty Kitchener is the Director of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training Program. She started this program as an unpaid volunteer in 2000. In 2001, the program received a small grant from ACT Health which paid part of her salary to run MHFA courses in Canberra. From this small beginning the program has employed staff and spread nationally. There are now over 1000 accredited MHFA instructors operating across Australia. Over 85, 000 people have completed a MHFA course. A number of specialised versions of the course have been developed: Youth MHFA, Aboriginal MHFA, Vietnamese-Australian MHFA, and e-learning MHFA. The course has spread to the following other countries: Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, THailand, UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), USA. A number of studies, including randomised controlled trials, have found the course to be effective in improving knowledge, attitudes and helping behaviours.

This award honours the outstanding innovation and dedication of Betty Kitchener to mental health services through the creation of the Mental HEalth First Aid Training Program, and through untiring commitment to the development of the program in Australia and globally. This award represents our deep respect for an exceptional contribution, the results of which will flow on to enhance the mental health and well-being of all.


Dr Janice Wilson, Deputy Director General, Population Health Directorate
New Zealand Ministry of Health
2008 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Beth Bailey, VIC
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health in Australia or New Zealand

For 14 years Beth has been a passionate advocate for collaboration between consumers, carers and clinicians, to improve the quality of mental health service. She has worked at local, State and National levels to achieve her goals. At St Vincent’s Hospital Mental Health Program she convened a Carer Support Group very effectively for 10 years inviting consumers and clinicians to attend on a regular basis.

At a State level, Beth was Chair of the peak Victorian Network for Carers of people with a mental illness until December 2007. At a National level, she was the first Victorian carer to represent the State on the National Consumer and Carer Forum from 2001 – 2006. She is universally regarded by her peers as a leader and catalyst for improvements in service delivery. Beth is an intelligent woman of absolute integrity, full of wisdom and wise judgement, with a keen sense of the contribution of others.


Senator The Hon Brett Mason,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing
2007 TheMHS Awards Presenter


The Hon Tony Abbott,
The Australian Minister for Health
2006 TheMHS Awards Presenter


Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM,
the Australian Human Rights Commissioner and Acting Disability Commissioner
2005 TheMHS Awards Presenter


Professor Allan Fels
2004 TheMHS Awards Presenter

Lifeline’s 24 hour Crisis Telephone Counselling Service
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia or New Zealand

Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis counselling service is staffed by trained volunteers and has provided Australians with a listening ear for the last 40 years. Located in 60 locations throughout rural and regional Australia, Lifeline’s 4,500 counsellors provide the equivalent of 52 years of non stop compassion every year. Lifeline is the only generalist counselling service available for 24 hours a day every day of the year and is the backstop for helping professions and mental health services who are not available after hours. Help is available at any time, anywhere, for the cost of a local call. Lifeline is now operative in 15 countries and 250 communities across the world and represents a unique Australian primary mental health care promotion, prevention and intervention tool.

Lifeline was establishment in 1963 by the late Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker. In keeping with Sir Alan’s original vision, Lifeline centres overcome time and distance by providing compassion and care to all Australians. The purpose of Lifeline is to strengthen the capacity of communities and individuals to make life-affirming choices which alleviate distress and promote well-being. In 2002, over 80,000 calls to Lifeline were known to be about mental health. This was about 27% of counselling calls received. Lifeline’s commitment to mental health focuses on the 24-hour counselling service 13 11 14 continuing to play a pivotal role responding to the needs of our callers. Lifeline operates in 42 communities throughout Australia as self governing member centres. These Centres recruit and train volunteers from the local community to provide a 24 hour telephone counselling service in addition to providing information, referral and associated services in their area. Lifeline relies on financial support from the community. Lifeline shops around the country raise 80% of operational costs each year by selling donated clothing, furniture and books. Telstra has been Lifeline’s major sponsor since 1993 and provides Lifeline’s telephone infrastructure. There are 10,000 Lifeline volunteers Australia wide. In addition, 2,500 volunteers are trained annually to staff the 24 hour telephone counselling line.


SANE Australia, VIC
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health in Australia or New Zealand

SANE Australia is committed to helping people affected by mental illness through campaigning for improved services and attitudes, educating to promote understanding, and conducting research which can make a difference.

SANE has significantly contributed to improving the lives of people living with a mental illness and continues to work for an end to stigma, access to effective clinical treatments, a range of community support, and help for families and other carers.

Over the years SANE has built a reputation for developing innovative programs to address to problems faced by consumers and carers, based on ongoing and meaningful consultation.

SANE Australia is a national charity helping people affected by mental illness through education, research and campaigning for greater awareness of mental illness and better services. It is overseen by a Board of Directors, chaired by Professor John Funder. The day to day running of SANE Australia is overseen by Barbara Hocking, SANE Australia’s Executive Director, who manages 12 staff members.

The organisation works in partnership with a range of consumer and carer groups, national peak bodies, universities, government departments and international alliances and is funded by donations, philanthropic trusts and government and health promotion agencies.


Dr Joan Clarke, VIC
Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Service in Australia

Dr Joan Clarke’s outstanding contribution to the field of Mental Health can be noted in many areas. Her contribution to research, conferences, committees and the running of the largest provider of day psychiatric services in Victoria can be evidenced in the following document.

Dr Clarke has been the Executive Director of Prahran Mission since 1989 and has assisted the organisation to grow into a large multi-service agency recognised nationally and internationally for best practice, social justice and program innovation. She has supported the organisation’s development by reference to continuing research and program development which has also added significantly to the body of knowledge in the wider mental health field.

Dr Clarke has contributed to many committees including the Chairperson of the Australian Psychiatric Disability Coalition, member of the Mental Health Task Group to set up the Mental Health Council of Australia, Deputy Chair of the Mental Health Council, and coordinated World Mental Health Day for 3 years (1999, 2000, 2001).

Dr Clarke has presented at many noteworthy conferences as keynote speaker including: World Social Work Conference on Health and Mental Health in 1989; Power Politics & Performance 1993; Vicserv 2000 Conference; 7th Lilly Mental Health Forum on Developing Better Relationships with the Community in Tokyo where she presented the paper “History & Evolution of Mental Health Care in Australia”.

Dr Joan Clarke has made an exceptional contribution to Mental Health Services and deserves to be remembered for her achievements.







Mental Health Program
Dept. of Public Health & Nutrition, University of Wollongong
Ross Harris; Director
Individual/Team Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Theory/Education/Practice

Department of Public Health & Nutrition, University of Wollongong

An innovative, industry specific program for the presentation of post-graduate public mental health education, training and research for both urban and remote/rural primary care workers throughout Australia. It places emphasis on the development of clinically effective and culturally sensitive strategies for health care workers in comprehensive systems of care for persons with mental illness.


Patrick McGorry
Individual/Team Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Theory/Education/Practice

Early Psychosis & Intervention Centre

For the work, drive, vision and commitment he has demostrated in the are of early psychosis. Associate pRofessor Patrick McGorry is currently director of the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPICC) as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Melbourne University. The staff of the EPPIC program nominated Professor McGorry for the above award, for the work, drive, vision and commitment he has demonstrated in the area of early psychosis. Professor McGorry epitomizes the scientist-practitioner model and has made significant contributions both academically and clinically. He works tirelessly in ensuring that the quality of service offered at EPICC is of the highest standards and sensitive to the requirements of the participants. He has time for all staff, peers and consumers alike and as such has gained a deep respect and admiration by all associated with him.


(Inaugural Award)
Robyn Byers
Individual/Team Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Theory/Education/Practice

Robyn is the Executive Officer for the mental health service covering the Nelson Marlborough region of 114,000 people on the South Island fo New Nealzland. She is also the Total Quality Management Consultant and has certificates of Health Management and Total Quality Manafement. In the years since she began working in mental health in 1977, she has made a major contribution to the development of better mental health services. She contributed beyond role expectations and demonstrates a great commitment to quality, always achieving objectives and tackling challenges energetically and resourcefully. An abundance of evidence from her clients, from ward, from community and staff education programs, from service plans and implementations etc. amply demonstrate her contributions in theory, education and in practice.