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Professor Allan Fels: 2017 National Mental Health Prize finalist

Professor Allan Fels: 2017 National Mental Health Prize finalist

It is a great honour for Professor Allan Fels AO, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission to have been selected as one of six finalists for the 2017 National Mental Health Prize .

Professor Fels is among finalists who have all demonstrated their outstanding contributions to the promotion of mental health, or the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

The Commission wishes to acknowledge the calibre of all six finalists for the 2017 National Mental Health Prize, they are all exceptional Australians who continue to demonstrate an  immeasurable commitment to improving the lives of people with a mental illness and their carers. 

The six finalists were selected from 56 entries across Australia.  The winner will be announced by the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minster for Health at a ceremony on 20 November 2017.

A little info about Professor Allan Fels' nomination…

Professor Allan Fels AO has devoted much of his life to advocating for improving the lives of people living with a mental illness and their carers.  His key achievements include:

  • In 2006, establishing the Haven foundation, recognising that permanent, affordable and integrated housing is fundamental to the recovery of people with a mental illness.
  • Leading the development of the National Standards for mental health services 2010 which for the first time in Australia called for a person-centred mental health system.
  • Spearheading the inclusion of persons with significant and enduring psychiatric disability into the National Disability and Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • Monitoring/reporting on gaps in the NDIS so persons with mental illness and psychosocial disability who fall outside the eligibility criteria for the NDIS are not forgotten – leading to an $80 million budget increase for the provision of psychosocial care.
  • Leading the formulation of recommendations as Chair of the National Mental Health Commission to bring about the most significant mental health reforms in Australia’s history:
    • progressing reform towards a more person-centred mental health system
    • realigning the system to invest more in prevention and early intervention
    • championing investment in mental health as ‘good debt’ because of its productivity enhancing potential, delivering long term economic gains.

As ACCC chairman, Professor Allan Fels consistently and fearlessly confronted the bastions of power in Australia (big business and politicians) in efforts to ensure Australians were given a ‘fair go’ – becoming one of our most famous public figures.

After battling for consumer rights, Professor Fels turned his considerable intellect and tenacity towards fighting for the thousands of Australians who suffer from mental health problems, such as his daughter Isabella who has schizophrenia.  He has fought behind the scenes and publicly to reduce the stigma associated with having a mental illness and tirelessly worked to help people with a mental illness and carers to lead contributing lives in thriving communities.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.