Establishing our council

In responding to feedback received during our extensive consultation process before opening and in our engagement work since, we made the decision to establish an MHCC Advisory Council.

We drafted Terms of Reference, and called for Expressions of Interest among a number of consumer, carer, and service staff networks. We received an overwhelming number of applications in response, which were of an exceptionally high standard.

We then undertook an intensive selection process to be confident that our council would be an inclusive and diverse group of people who have lived experience of the public mental health system as consumers, carers, family members and service workers, and who share our goal of effecting positive change.

On 16 August 2016, the MHCC Advisory Council commenced operation.

Key objectives

Our objectives are for members to share their knowledge and expertise, and provide advice across a range of areas, including the needs and priorities of people with lived experience in relation to overcoming barriers and implementing effective complaints processes.

Our aim is for their contributions to:

  • enhance our education and engagement initiatives, including our resources and training in complaints resolution
  • strengthen our engagement of key groups through our information materials, website and social media sites
  • provide input into our strategic plans and guidance on how best to evaluate the impact of our work
  • provide perspectives on emerging issues and developments in the sector that relate to our work, including project outcomes and research findings.

MHCC Advisory Council members

The MHCC Advisory Council members

The MHCC Advisory Council (left to right): Hanna Jewell, Anthony Stratford (Chair), Dr Steven Moylan, Commissioner Lynne Coulson Barr, Rachael Lovelock, Robyn Callaghan, Christine Abdelmalek, Simon Katterl, Gloria Sleaby, Annette Mercuri and Keir Saltmarsh (MHCC Secretariat support)

Each council member brings their own unique experiences and motivations for wanting to effect change through their work with the MHCC.

Council Chair Anthony Stratford, who played an integral role in establishing our council, brings deep insights from his lived experience, along with broad national and international experience in recovery-oriented practice, research, training and peer led initiatives. Mr Stratford is driven by his commitment to seeing recovery-oriented practice embedded into all aspects of mental health treatment and care.

Psychiatrist Dr Steven Moylan thinks learning about the experiences of consumers and families, both positive and negative, is vital to improving the system, and that it’s important for the medical profession to show leadership in this area.

Carer consultant Annette Mercuri has seen the negative impact that excluding family and carers from treatment and support can have on families and recovery through two generations of mental ill health in her family, and is a strong advocate for consumers, clinicians, and family and carers working together to provide better outcomes for all.

Rachael Lovelock, who brings her experience in carer consultancy, advocacy and leadership, is passionate about partnerships that provide opportunities for gaining a better understanding of the complex relationship between family members/carers and consumers, and assisting people to create a recovery environment that supports the needs of all.

Christine Abdelmalek, a psychology student and young person with lived experience, is passionate about youth mental health and is motivated to ensure that young people are given the platform to drive change in an aspect of health where they are significantly affected.

Gloria Sleaby, who works in complaints resolution and has a family member with lived experience, thinks she is well placed to make important contributions that might lead to positive change, benefitting consumers and carers.

Hanna Jewell, who brings experience in clinical mental health services, workforce training and family inclusive practice, aims to help clinicians, consumers, families and services to create change, and explore ways for improving service responses for people experiencing mental illness and their families.

Robyn Callaghan draws on her lived experience in her work in peer led recovery and consultancy, and is committed to improving the process for consumers and families to provide feedback or make a complaint about a public mental health service.

Simon Katterl draws on his lived experience in his work as an advocate, and is committed to quality improvement and advocating for recovery-oriented practice and consumer rights to be upheld within the public system.

Paula Fernandez, who works in local complaints resolution in a mental health service, is committed to changing the consumer experience, and thinks the voice of the consumer is paramount to learning and determining where change can come about.

The MHCC is pleased to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with such motivated, passionate and dedicated individuals to achieve our shared goals.

More information

For more information about our council, contact our Education and Engagement Team on 03 9032 3328 or at