Beyond Blue welcomes new Board directors deepening commitment to child mental health

Beyond Blue welcomes new Board directors deepening commitment to child mental health

by Freya Lucas

October 23, 2020

Distinguished child and adolescent psychiatrist Professor Helen Milroy, from Western Australia, and rural psychiatrist Dr Jason Lee, from far north Queensland, have joined the Beyond Blue board, with Beyond Blue Chair the Hon Julia Gillard AC saying she was delighted to welcome the esteemed and dedicated professionals to Beyond Blue.

 

“As Prime Minister, I appointed Professor Milroy as a Royal Commissioner to the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse inquiry, so I know first-hand the depth of clinical knowledge, experience and humanity she brings,” Ms Gillard said.

 

“Dr Lee is an accomplished psychiatrist who understands regional and remote communities. He is a seasoned generalist with experience supporting diverse populations and we are privileged to have him on the board,” she added.

 

Both appointments, Ms Gillard continued, will support the mental health of all Australians, and deepen and enhance Beyond Blue’s commitment to child and adolescent mental health, multicultural communities, regional and remote Australia and Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing.

 

Professor Milroy, with extensive experience as a child and adolescent mental health clinician, is currently the Stan Perron Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Perth Children’s Hospital and University of Western Australia, and said she is “very excited to join the board of Beyond Blue and be involved in the excellent work they do in mental health.” 

 

In her appointment, the Professor said she is particularly keen to advance her interest in the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and perinatal, child and adolescent mental health.

 

Dr Lee has extensive experience in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health, having trained in rural Australia and has spent over ten years providing outreach services to remote Aboriginal communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Over the past five years, Dr Lee has focused on the development of a culturally safe community mental health service based at the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services.

 

“We are a nation of incredibly diverse people. Where we come from, where we grow up, who we are, where we live – all these factors inform differences in how we understand our mental health, what help we feel we need, and what help we are comfortable seeking,” Dr Lee said.

 

“I hope to contribute to Beyond Blue’s recognition and support of our diverse population, particularly in relation to rural and remote Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”

 

The new appointments have been made in light of the departure of two “distinguished and celebrated directors”, Professor Michael Kidd AO and Professor Michael Baigent, who have moved on from the board after years of dedicated service.

 

Professor Baigent said he has “truly valued the opportunity” to have worked as part of the team at Beyond Blue over the past 14 years. 

 

“Although sad that my term is now complete, I am proud of the contribution the organisation has made towards improving the mental health of the Australian community. I am very pleased with the high calibre psychiatrists who are joining the board as there is still more for Beyond Blue to do” he said. 

 

Deputy Chair Kate Carnell AO, Johanna Griggs AM, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AC, Dr Jessica Dean, Paul Howes, the Hon Robert Knowles AO, Denise McComish, Russell Taylor AM and Derek Schoen remain on the board.

 

Professor Milroy and Dr Lee will attend their first scheduled Board meeting in December. 

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