by, for & with people with lived experience of mental health issues
Our Founder & Executive Director
Ellie has worked for twenty years in the community and mental health sectors as a community development lead, therapeutic practitioner, manager, educator, strategy/policy worker and consultant. For the past three years she has been an active lived experience representative, leader and speaker at state and national level.
Ellie was a Lived Experience Advisor to the South Australian Mental Health Commission during the development of the SA Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017-2022 and is a member of the Mental Health Leadership Group, a group chaired by the Chief Psychiatrist and attended by Mental Health Directors and Clinical Directors of each Local Health Network. Ellie most recently has worked with Health Consumers Alliance as project lead for the development of a Consumer and Community Partnership Strategy within CALHN.
At the heart of all of Ellie’s work is her commitment to innovation, social justice and leading together.
Catherine has a keen interest in the neurobiology of trauma, she is passionate about applying this knowledge to help achieve practical outcomes for real people. As a woman living with disability, Catherine also feels strongly about lived experience and a peer workforce in the design and implementation of care systems.
In partnership with her husband, Catherine is a mum, foster-mum and an other-person guardian.
Catherine currently works as an Advocate for children and young people in alternative care for the Guardian for Children and Young People. Catherine’s academic background is in Psychology, Human Rights and Law. Over her career, she has assumed government and non-government management and leadership roles in the child protection, health, disability and homelessness fields.
Janet’s reason for being on the board of LELAN is to increase the number of people who have positive and beneficial treatment within the mental health system. She believes people with lived experience have invaluable insight and extremely worthy opinions and combined with action we can create change for the better throughout all environments within society.
On a personal note, Janet loves helping other beings when my cup is full and I live an active and varied, vital lifestyle.
Melissa is a Family Peer Support worker with a large nationally networked non-government organisation. She offers the opportunity for loved ones and friends of young people with mental health difficulties confidential emotional support. Having lived experience of supporting a loved one with mental health difficulties, Melissa is happy to be involved in activating change in South Australia with LELAN.
Melissa’s education background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Graduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and currently studying Masters of Social Work at Flinders University.
Dani is a Doctor, Mother, Wife, Skier and Runner. She graduated Medicine in 1997 and has worked in the Emergency Department of Noarlunga Hospital for 18 years.
Dani has a great deal of Lived Experience of the Mental Health system from a both patient and health provider perspective. Dani lives with Bipolar Affective Disorder, being diagnosed when she was 26, in 2000.
Dani has started her journey into open disclosure of and advocacy for Mental Illness in 2018. She is all about “Reducing the Stigma” and education within the health care system.
Sarah is a sister, a daughter, a psychologist, a community member and a sibling carer. She is passionate about complex mental illness, particularly in assisting those with psychosocial disability that do not have a voice to access the services and supports they need to live a meaningful life.
Sarah aims to educate the community about complex mental illness and the associated trauma, stigma, isolation and marginalisation that consumers and carers can face. Sarah’s brothers aren’t seen as human beings, they are seen as burdens. They are NOT. They are kind, resilient, brave and gentle souls.
Matt is a nationally recognised Lived Experience leader, health service manager and consultant specialising in Lived Experience development and person-centred care. He has been an instrumental leader in the development of South Australia’s Lived Experience workforce through his work with a large Local Health Network and the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist.
Matt holds an adjunct lecturer position within UniSA and has been an author of a number of publications both within Australia and internationally including recently being a contributing author of the first book on peer work in Australia.
Matt holds qualifications in psychology, mental health, management and adult education. He has been a recipient of awards in mental health and health innovation and is currently completing a Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship with the National Mental Health Commission.
Suzanne has a strong interest in social enterprise. She has worked with the Don Dunstan Foundation and been involved with smaller community groups.
Professionally Suzanne is an experienced accounting and business advisor who has worked in a range of boutique and mid-tier accounting firms for over 10 years. She is CPA qualified, holder of a Public Practice Certificate, is a registered tax agent, has completed her Bachelor of Accounting and Masters of Tax and holds a JP qualification. Suzanne brings expert knowledge in the areas of Australian tax, International tax matters, company valuations, ATO reviews and not-for-profit audit.
Kez holds the position of Mental Health Services Program Coordinator, Lived Experience with UnitingSA and supervises a Lived Experience team. Previously she was the Consumer Consultant where her primary focus was Human Rights in Service delivery and for the Lived Experience Workforce.
Kez was awarded the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia’s Lived Experience Award in 2018. She has been involved in the co-design of the LETSS Phone Service, the co-design and delivery of Leadership/ Lived Experience training for managers and as a representative on the NDIS taskforce. She has also assisted with the implementation of the Lived Experience Standards and Guidelines and many other projects.
Kez’s practice and enthusiasm for effective change is rooted deeply to human rights and lived experience.
Jane is a passionate Carer and Consumer that wishes to see positive change within the Mental Health system and assist Carers in achieving their goals.
Jane is an active lived experience representative and volunteer. She is currently involved with: the NDIS Psycho Social Transition Task Form; CAHLN’s Community Mental Health Redesign Committee; the Community Visitors Scheme; Carer’s SA; and other groups.
As a former Registered Nurse Jane worked in Palliative and Gerontic care and with the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS). Previously, she has been involved with the Charles Sturt Lions Club for 3 years, holding the position of Recruitment Chairperson on the Board for 2 terms.
In her spare time Jane enjoys swimming, meditating and being a member of her local Book Club. She also enjoys participating in community programs that are designed to help others form connections within the community.
John believes that LELAN has the ability to effect positive change for service providers and individuals both short and long term.
John is currently employed as the Legal Officer for the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner.
Previously John has been a Sepcialist Police Prosecutor, Founding Director & Partner in a law firm and an Adjunct Legal Lecturer. John maintains his status as a Barrister and Solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia.
Join the Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network
Be informed, get involved and help to strengthen the voice and influence of lived experience in South Australia. Also benefit from reduced member rates for workshops, access to our closed Facebook group, a quarterly members-only newsletter and more.