National Suicide Prevention Office Advisory Board Appointed

The National Suicide Prevention Office (NSPO) has today announced the appointment of 17 members of the NSPO advisory board.

Date published:

Dr Michael Gardner, Head of the NSPO said the board will bring diverse perspectives across systems, sector, government, and academia to inform and enhance the work of the Office.

“We are delighted to appoint these leaders and change makers who are lending their expertise to ensure the NSPO delivers on its remit to create an Australia where no person feels driven to take their own life.

To effectively reduce suicide, its essential that we broaden suicide prevention efforts beyond the health portfolio to address upstream psychosocial risk factors and potential stressors that are associated with suicide. 

This Board brings extensive lived experience coupled with leadership and wisdom from the suicide prevention sector, research institutions, government portfolios, peak bodies and services providing supports and solutions to address the social determinants that we know contribute to suicide.”

Commissioner Alan Woodward has been appointed to Chair the Advisory Board. Commissioner 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, an evaluator and researcher and as an expert on crisis lines and related community services.  He co-chaired the Expert Advisory Group to the Special Advisor on Suicide Prevention and was a Board Director for nine years with Suicide Prevention Australia.

“It gives me great hope for the future of suicide prevention in Australia seeing the breadth of lived experience, data and evaluation expertise and practical service and system knowledge that will be guiding the development of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the work of NSPO.  It is by working together and understanding the levers of collaboration, coordination and consistency across government, service provision and community that we will achieve the lasting reduction in lives lost to suicide that we all want to see,” Commissioner Woodward said.

The Advisory Board will provide expert advice to the Head of the National Suicide Prevention Office to support the work and strategic direction of the NSPO.  It will help to progress the work of the NSPO by advising on matters relating to self-harm and suicide including, but not limited to:

  • factors contributing to Australia’s rates of self-harm and suicide
  • approaches to suicide prevention in Australia
  • workforce capacity
  • collection, sharing, linkage and translation of data
  • jurisdictional and federal governance and/or legislative changes required to enhance suicide prevention
  • policy approaches to inform advice
  • levels and priorities of investment for government, the private sector and in communities to achieve effective and strategic suicide prevention across Australia.

The Advisory Board will receive expert assistance from the soon to be announced NSPO Lived Experience Partnership Group and a Research Reference Group, made up of renowned researchers in suicide prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Office Advisory Board

NSPOAB ChairAlan WoodwardCommissioner, National Mental Health Commission
National Mental Health CommissionChristine MorganChief Executive Officer, National Mental Health Commission
EconomicsProf Henry CutlerDirector, Centre for Health Economy, Macquarie Business School



Dr Wendy Southern PSMRecently retired.  Previously held Deputy Secretary positions in Dept of Health, the then Dept of Immigration and Citizenship and as a division head in Prime Minister and Cabinet.
GovernanceKym PeakePartner, EY Port Jackson
Health and social care systemsProf. Kathy EagarProfessor, Health Services Research and Director, AHSRI
Lived Experience AdvisorGraeme HoldsworthRetired & Director, Suicide Prevention Australia Board
Lived Experience AdvisorBronwen EdwardsChief Executive Officer, Roses in the Ocean
Social PolicyProf. Karen FisherSocial Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Social PolicyProf. Steve AllsopNational Drug Research Institute, Curtin University
Social Determinants: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CommunitiesProf. Pat DudgeonDirector, Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, University of Western Australia
Social Determinants: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse CommunitiesPino MigliorinoManaging Director & Chairperson, Cultural Perspectives Group
Social Determinants: Health equity Prof. Sharon FrielDirector, Menzies centre for Health Governance, Australian National University 
Social Determinants: LGBTQIA+Nicolas ParkhillChief Executive Officer, ACON
Social Determinants: Veterans Gwen Cherne Commissioner,  Veteran Family Advocate Commissioner
Peak Body: Suicide Prevention AustraliaNieves MurrayChief Executive Officer, Suicide Prevention Australia
Peak Body: Gayaa Dhuwi Proud Spirit AustraliaSarah SzydzikChief Executive Officer, Gayaa Dhuwi Proud Spirit Australia

National Mental Health Commission media contact

  • Suicide prevention