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National Mental Health Commission welcomes three new Commissioners

National Mental Health Commission welcomes three new Commissioners

The National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) is pleased to welcome three new members to its Advisory Board.

The Federal Government has today announced the new members – they are Ms Niharika Hiremath and Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder (from 3 April 2019 to 31 January 2021) and Mr Alan Woodward, who will begin on 1 August 2019 until 31 July 2022. Mr Woodward replaces outgoing member, Professor Wendy Cross, whose appointment ends on 31 July this year.

NMHC Chair, Lucy Brogden, said Professor Cross had brought passion and hard work to the role and thanked her for her service and contribution. She also said the board was looking forward to working with the new Commissioners.

“On behalf of the board I’d like to extend our thanks to Professor Cross for her valued input and insights during her time with the board,” she said.

“The new members of the Advisory Board have been selected for their experience and leadership in all aspects of mental health and suicide prevention and we look forward to working alongside them.”

The Commission reports on mental health in Australia, and provides advice to Government on ways to continuously improve mental health and suicide prevention and will lead the new National Mental Health Workplace Initiative, announced in the 2019 Budget

New NMHC Members

Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder is a Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for the Health Economy and Senior Lecturer for the Macquarie University’s Department of Health Systems and Populations Faculty of Medicine. She has extensive experience (locally and internationally) in applied research in the economics of complex public health interventions. Her current research work centres around health systems integration and mental health. In her previous roles she has collaborated with national research, audit and commissioning bodies to translate research findings into policy.

Ms Niharika Hiremath has a lived experience of clinical depression and anxiety and has herself been through the mental health care system in Australia. Her recovery led her to find her passion; working to understand and reduce stigma, especially in ethnically diverse communities. She has seen the impact that quality mental health support can have first-hand, and is committed to improving wellbeing outcomes for all Australians alike. She has held various roles as a youth mental health representative, including on the headspace’s Youth National Reference Group.

Mr Alan Woodward has worked in the fields of mental health, crisis support and suicide prevention for 20 years as an executive leader, a service and program developer, a researcher and as an expert advisor to governments and peak bodies. He is currently Strategic Advisor on Quality and Innovation with Suicide Prevention Australia and a Member of the NSW Mental Health Commission’s Community Advisory Council. Prior to joining Suicide Prevention Australia, Mr Woodward worked for Lifeline Australia in various executive roles for 14 years, and was a former director of Suicide Prevention Australia. Mr Woodward holds a Master’s Degree in a Social Science of Policy, a Business Degree in Public Administration and a Diploma in Arts/Communication. He is also a PhD Candidate through the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.

Aboriginal flag Torres Strait Islander flag

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.