National Register - SA Representative Profiles

If your organisation is seeking consumer and carer representation, please click here to find out more about the selection process. Please note that all requests for representation will be referred to the consumer and carer driven selection process - it is not possible for an organisation to request an individual representative.

Anne Barbara, Carer Representative

I was one of the first Carer Consultants employed by SA Health, a role I established within an acute and sub acute clinic. Maintaining and expanding this role over the past eleven years and continuing to have great passion, I have witnessed the many benefits of the carer lived experience, understanding and expertise.

My passion and commitment to ensure carers are informed and their voice is heard is evident through my service and community involvement with local liaison and advisory groups and by connecting with programs and services relevant to carers.  This has seen me involved with organising a viewing of the movie Healing Voices, a social action documentary on consumers experiences of voice hearing and also arranging a presentation by an Adelaide Psychiatrist who is researching bio-markers in the blood to diagnose schizophrenia. I also have been a Dignity In Care Champion (DIC) for six years and am the representative voice for mental illness. DIC is about bringing cultural change and treating consumers with dignity and respect.

I am dedicated to bringing awareness, reducing stigma and advocating for people impacted by mental illness and hope my involvement in the mental health arena brings positive change.

Heather Nowak, Consumer Representative

I have lived in both metropolitan and rural South Australia and have experienced many of the difficulties faced by consumers residing in these areas.

I hold a passion for using my lived experience to inform future planning, design and delivery of services to ensure that the journey for current and future consumers and their carers is made as smooth as possible to enable optimal recovery outcomes.

I was involved in the Cert IV Mental Health Peer Work Qualification Reference group and was successful in my application to be a National Peer Work Champion to gain training in the Cert IV Mental Health Peer Work. I am now casually employed by the Mental Health Coordinating Council of Australia to provide training and assessment in the Cert IV Mental Health Peer Work in NSW, and am currently working with TAFE SA to provide the same training which commenced in South Australia in 2017.

I have been a member of the National register since its inception and am currently a consumer representative Nationally on the Australian Commission on National Safety and Quality in Health Care Mental Health Reference Group, the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration, Monash University Guideline Development Group for the Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Work-related Mental Health Problems project and an Ambassador for Beyond Blue.

Gail Sant, Carer Representative

I have many years work experience working with Mind across all programs in South Australia. I have a background in Community Development and Primary Health Care. I am retired from the workforce but continue to work as a carer representative on various advisory groups. I am a member of LEWP (Lived experience workforce project) with the South Australia Coalition. I am a member of HCA (Health Consumers Alliance) and on Centacare’s Advisory Committee.

I have extensive knowledge as a Carer Consultant/Project Officer with Mind - I have presented at conferences and shared my own lived experiences as a carer.

I have cared for 3 family members over a 40 year period. I developed resilience and coping skills while working on my own recovery. I have experienced so many changes in Mental Health, experiencing institutionalisation, step up, step down to working in recovery.

My key areas of interest are in human rights, that people are given the opportunity to live their own lives with dignity and respect, fitting into their own community, reducing stigma and suicide, and allowing people to live a good quality of life. I am fortunate that I have the skills to support others.

Nevena Simic, Consumer Representative

I have a strong commitment to helping others and building stronger families and communities. I give my knowledge, experience and time to provide a strong lived experience voice in the mental health sector at the national level.

My primary areas of focus are issues facing Mental Health, Wellbeing and Diversity. As an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) I find real value and inspiration from working with people. The quality of peoples’ life must be the priority.

In 2007 I completed a bachelor degree in Social Work followed by a Master’s Degree in Grief and Palliative Care Counselling. I have worked in a variety of paid and volunteer positions at Government as well as at Not for Profit Organisations.

With a deep interest in issues of mental health and cultures I take proactive role. I became part of a number of groups inside the AASW and within the wide communities.

As a member of Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) Consumer and Carer Working Group, which operated as the project funded by the Federal government I have had advised the project and the Framework development from the South Australia experience and perspective.

Pat Sutton, Carer Representative

I have been an advocate for people with severe mental illness with associated psychosocial disabilities and their families for over 20 years, since my two sons were diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Driven by my strong belief in social justice, I have worked as an educator of the whole community, including service providers and professionals, within agencies and as a guest lecturer in universities, to overcome the stigma and discrimination still prevalent in our community.

I have worked for over 20 years in both a voluntary and paid capacity in both government and non-government organisations, including in a high dependency unit in Glenside Hospital, as the first Carer Consultant in the Mental Health Unit in SA Health and 12 years as Guardianship Board SA member.

I have been on numerous boards, committees and advisory groups at local, state and national level, including six years as Carers Australia’s representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.

I have presented at many conferences, including TheMHS conferences and more recently those associated with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  I was a keynote speaker at the Carers Forum at the TheMHS conference held in Auckland, New Zealand, in September 2016.

I am often called upon for media interviews and to write articles for publications.

My family’s story appears extensively on internet sites and was featured in SBS Insight’s A Family Concern in September 2016.

Sarah Sutton, Carer Representative

I love my family, including my two brothers whom both have diagnoses of Schizophrenia. I am passionate about mental health advocacy because my brothers cannot advocate for themselves due to their psychosocial disabilities.  As a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, I also advocate for carers and consumers who cannot speak out due to disability or fear of discrimination and mistreatment. I have worked for many years in government and private services including lived experience and expert advisory roles at a local, state and national level. I am driven by the belief that everyone deserves a contributing life, including safe and stable accommodation, support and something meaningful to do with their time. I am given hope by consumer stories of braveness and resilience, and my dream is that one day carers, but mostly consumers, will be paid to co-design at all levels across mental health services, including research, service improvement and delivery, and policy development.

There are a total of 4 consumer and 4 carer representatives from SA currently on the National Register.

Please note that representative profiles are not currently available for all National Register members.

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