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Who we are
The Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT) is the peak body for community managed mental health services in Tasmania. We represent and promote the interests of our members and work closely with government and agencies to ensure sectoral input into public policies and programs. We advocate for reform and improvement within the Tasmanian mental health system.
Meet our team
Connie Digolis - CEOShow "Connie Digolis - CEO"
Connie Digolis is the CEO of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT). Connie brings to her role a wealth of experience in population health and preventative health strategy, community sector management, advocacy, health promotion and policy. Connie is a leading voice advocating for mental health system reform, providing solutions to support the mental health and wellbeing needs of all Tasmanians.
Connie, in partnership with our Board, is responsible for ensuring that MHCT functions as an effective peak body for the community managed mental health sector in Tasmania. Together, the Board and CEO give direction and leadership towards the organisation’s relevance to the community and stakeholders; and the achievement of its vision, mission, strategic plan, annual goals and objectives.
Connie is a Deputy President of the Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TasCOSS). Connie also represents the community managed mental health sector on a range of Advisory and Reference Groups working collectively to transform the Tasmanian mental health system to become a truly person-centred, integrated care model providing the best mental health outcomes for all Tasmanians.
Bree Klerck - General ManagerShow "Bree Klerck - General Manager"
Bree is responsible for the planning, coordination and reporting of MHCT projects. She also oversees MHCT’s policy development in the mental health sector at a state and national level. Bree represents MHCT on relevant committees and networks which inform and relate to MHCT projects and mental health reform.
Shareen Pearson - Corporate Services ManagerShow "Shareen Pearson - Corporate Services Manager"
Corporate Services Manager
Shareen manages the financial and human resource functions of MHCT and provides support to the CEO, the Board and sub-committees including the review and updating of organisational policy and procedures and the management of all MHCT records and documents.
Sally Errey - Stakeholder Engagement CoordinatorShow "Sally Errey - Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator"
Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator
Sally is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of a Member and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy including the recruitment and retention of new members, and the identification of other strategic opportunities. Working closely with the CEO, Sally leads advocacy campaigns in line with the MHCT Strategic Plan, while building on government, member, and sector relations.
Nick Sullivan - Media and Communications OfficerShow "Nick Sullivan - Media and Communications Officer"
Media and Communications Officer
Nick is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the MHCT website and social media accounts, monitoring government and media activity relating to mental health, developing a range of communications including newsletters, infographics, surveys and marketing materials, and coordinating MHCT events. [email protected]
Trudy Schmitzer - Lived Experience Workforce CoordinatorShow "Trudy Schmitzer - Lived Experience Workforce Coordinator"
As Lived Experience Workforce Coordinator, Trudy works in partnership with key stakeholders to lead and coordinate the implementation of the Tasmanian Peer Workforce Strategy, supporting the growth of a sustainable lived experience workforce in Tasmania.
Naomi Thomson - Policy and Research OfficerShow "Naomi Thomson - Policy and Research Officer"
Naomi is responsible for analysing, researching and developing policy, MHCT submissions and responses, working collaboratively with the MHCT team as well as members and stakeholders to identify best practice models and frameworks to support system improvement. She also coordinates the implementation of various projects and represents MHCT on relevant working groups and committees.
Emily Carter - Administration & Campaign Support OfficerShow "Emily Carter - Administration & Campaign Support Officer"
Emily provides support across the whole organisation. In her role she responds to phone and email enquiries, helps to organise and run events, activities, and meetings, and assists with MHCT campaigns and other projects. She also works closely with the Media and Communications Officer in the development and dissemination of communications including newsletters, infographics, surveys, and marketing materials.
Julie Martin - Advocacy and Communications AdvisorShow "Julie Martin - Advocacy and Communications Advisor"
Julie works closely with our sector, members, government and stakeholders to identify and determine advocacy priorities and foster strategic partnerships and opportunities. This role also contributes to MHCT communications from an advocacy and campaign perspective.
Bridget Wallbank - Youth Mental Health AccessShow "Bridget Wallbank - Youth Mental Health Access"
The YMHA Project Officer will develop and implement a Youth Peer Work Model that addresses the identified needs of young people and the youth mental health service sector to enable seamless service delivery and navigation across the continuum of care. Working in partnership with key stakeholders, work undertake will include the investigation and analysis of youth peer work models and identifying a suitable model for development, to address local need and capitalise on local strengths.
Sam Bigwood - Community Capacity BuildingShow "Sam Bigwood - Community Capacity Building"
Sam is undertaking an environmental scan of current mental health and wellbeing initiatives, training, and community groups and working with partners in the development and implementation of a mental health and wellbeing program. He works with key stakeholders to establish and support a network of community engagers including the development of training resources to increase participation and engagement of a mental health and wellbeing program across Tasmania.
Meet our Board
John Kirwan - Deputy ChairShow "John Kirwan - Deputy Chair"
With over 40 years’ experience in the Health and Community services sector, John is currently the CEO of Royal Flying Doctors Service Tasmania, and has been CEO of the Launceston General Hospital and Northern Area Health Service. Having been born in Kalgoorlie, and having worked in the NW of WA, NT and northern Tasmania, John has a deep commitment to our rural and remote communities.
Naomi Walsh - TreasurerShow "Naomi Walsh - Treasurer"
Naomi Walsh is an experienced non-executive director with a background in finance and business management. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants Australia and Zealand with a Risk specialisation and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. As a lecturer for the University of Tasmania, she uses her knowledge and training in mental health to support students to achieve their goals. Naomi has a passion for contributing to the equity and wellbeing of the Tasmanian community.
James Versteegen - Board MemberShow "James Versteegen - Board Member"
James is a qualified accountant with a career based mainly in the community not-for profit sector. He is currently the Corporate Services Manager with Lifeline Tasmania and brings experience and skills in Administration and Corporate functions, including WHS, Compliance and Governance to the MHCT Board. James is passionate about mental health within the community and creating a world’s best practice mental health system in Tasmania.
Paul Campbell - Board MemberShow "Paul Campbell - Board Member"
Paul is a Psychologist in private practice in the NW of Tasmania. He brings a wealth of insight and experience having previously been a relationship counsellor, Adult Mental Health Team member as well as working on research in Scotland and Australia. He is currently undertaking his PhD from Western Sydney University. Paul has a history of community based involvement and was previously an elected member to the Renmark Paringa Council, the Renmark Paringa Hospital Board, and Riverland Mental Health Advisory Council Member. He is currently the Tasmanian Representative for the Division of General Psychological Practice with the Australian Psychological Society and is also on the Marist Regional College Board. Paul has a strong commitment to mental health both in Tasmania and at a national level.
Dianne Hawkridge - Board MemberShow "Dianne Hawkridge - Board Member"
Dianne is currently Director of Nursing at The Hobart Clinic and has a career in mental health spanning 21 years, previously in New Zealand and now in Tasmania. With experience in a range of service delivery management roles, both in clinical and community settings, Di is a Registered Nurse with post graduate interests in Specialty Nursing Mental Health (Forensic) Alcohol and Drug studies and models of care in Maternal Mental Health.
Kate Chambers - Board MemberShow "Kate Chambers - Board Member"
Kate brings extensive strategic, risk and governance experience, supported by a passionate desire to improve coordinated service delivery, and an unwavering commitment to the Tasmanian community. Kate’s extensive career with Tasmania Police, relationships across service sectors, and breadth of life experience forms the basis of my astute, strategic thinking and ability to navigate positive outcomes for the Tasmanian community, and in 2021 she was nominated for the Australasian Council of Women and Policing: ‘Most Outstanding Female Leader’.
Lee-Anne Carter - Board MemberShow "Lee-Anne Carter - Board Member"
Lee-Anne is an Aboriginal Wiradjuri Noongar mother of four who, for the past 26 years, has worked within government, disability, legal and community (NFP) organisations. She has extensive experience in developing and providing of community services and programs leading to successful stakeholder engagement in achieving better health and wellbeing outcomes. She has a background in the legal sector and over the past three years has designed, developed, and managed numerous state-wide community justice programs and projects.