Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention
Dr Neale Fong – Chair
Dr Neale Fong has over 30 years experience in medical and health care delivery and leadership roles. His strengths lie in developing strategic directions for healthcare organisations and advising on the entire spectrum of health policy and operational issues.
He is currently Chairman of Bethesda Hospital, a consultant to Curtin University in the establishment of WA’s third medical school, Professor of Healthcare Leadership and a director of two ASX listed junior exploration companies. He is also President of the WA Branch of the Australasian College of Health Services Management and was made an Honorary Fellow in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding leadership in health. Neale was a founding Partner and Chief Medical Director of Bali International Medical Centre.
He was Director General of the WA Department of Health, Chief Executive Officer of St John of God Health Care Subiaco and was Chairman of the Western Australian Football Commission for 10 years. Neale holds Bachelor Degrees in Medicine and Surgery, a Masters in Theological Studies and a Masters of Business Administration.
Glenn Pearson – Deputy Chair
Glenn Pearson is a Nyoongar from Western Australia and father of five. He is the Head of Aboriginal Research Development and the Kulunga Aboriginal Research Development Unit (KARDU) at the Telethon Kids Institute and a member of the Institute Leadership Team. He also co-leads the Institute’s Aboriginal Health Research Focus Area. A trained primary school teacher, he has 15 years of experience in senior positions within the Australian and State Governments in a range of areas including health, education and child protection.
He is one of eight Aboriginal Chief Investigators within the Institute’s Centre of Research Excellence in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing (CREAHW). The Centre is a strategic program of intervention research that is focused on achieving radical and sustainable change for the Aboriginal community and improving the lives of Aboriginal people. The program is a unique validation of Aboriginal knowledge and demonstration of Indigenous methodology involving a multi-disciplinary team of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers, who will contribute to the body of knowledge, work transparently with the Aboriginal community and embrace Aboriginal culture and ways of thinking.
Glenn brings his own personal experiences as a brother, family member and friend who have ended their lives through suicide.
Taking the helm in 2000 as Chief Executive Officer of Youth Focus, Jenny has built Youth Focus the not for profit organisation from a staff strength of 3 with a budget of $240,000 to 32 staff and a budget of $4.2 million. Youth Focus is a community organisation providing therapeutic services and support to young people at risk of suicide, depression and self-harm. Her dedication in preventing youth suicide in Western Australia was recognized at the 2009 Local Chambers Business Person of the Year and in 2008 she was awarded the Ernst & Young “WA Social Entrepreneur of the Year” WA. She offers a wealth of experience in the advocacy and promotion of mental health, speaking at corporate events, as well as participating in discussions and forums to create greater awareness of preventing youth suicide. She is passionate in helping children and young people to address mental health issues and achieve good mental well-being. This motivates her to work closely with corporate community to raise awareness and the necessary funds to address areas of mental ill health, depression and self-harm, Last year Jenny presented to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee on Inquiry into Suicide as well as the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing on youth suicide and again in January presented to House of Representatives Standing Committee on youth suicide.
Jenny resigned her position at Youth Focus in December 2015 assuming the role of CEO of The 500 Club from 2016. Jenny is a Board member of Suicide Prevention Australia, the national peak body for suicide prevention. She is actively involved in several committees including Economic Audit Committee Mental Health Outcomes Working Group and the Anti Stigma Campaign reference group formed by the Mental Health Commissioner.
Donna Cole has had more than 26 years’ experience in media, communications, government relations and strategic planning. She has held senior roles with ABC Radio and TV News and Current Affairs in Sydney and Canberra (National Press Gallery) and Networks 7, 9 and 10 as a chief of staff, producer and senior political and legal affairs reporter.
Donna established LastSay Communications, a Perth-based public relations company in 1991. She has worked on projects for major multi-national corporations, WA based companies and not for profits including Indigenous Community Volunteers, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Some of her company’s existing clients include Raw Hire, which funded the recent Lifeline research into suicide prevention and depression of FIFO and DIDO workers, as well as Anglicare.
Ms Cole was raised in rural towns in WA and still has an affinity with people in ‘the bush’ who at times may feel socially isolated.
Chris is the Manager of the School Psychology Service with the Department of Education. He has a long history of involvement with suicide prevention activities that dates back to the 1980’s. He has provided direct counselling, assessment and intervention for suicidal people.
Chris completed a Masters Degree thesis in suicide prevention and the need for training of school personnel in how to detect and refer students with at risk behaviours. This led to a full-time appointment with the Youth Suicide Advisory Committee in 1990 where he wrote the Gatekeeper two-day training program and the associated manual. He facilitated workshop programs across the State and inter-state with a range of professional groups. In 1993 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to the USA and Canada to investigate suicide prevention approaches.
He maintains a strong motivation to support young people at risk of suicidal behaviour, for up-skilling and consulting to the professionals who work with these young people and supporting their families.
Tamisha is a proud Karajarri woman from the Kimberley, Western Australia. She is currently completing her second year of the Doctor of Medicine in Perth at the University of Western Australia. She completed her undergraduate degree at UWA majoring in Anatomy and Human Biology and Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, while completing a cadetship at the Drug and Alcohol Office. In 2016 she was one of two Indigenous Representatives within the Western Australian Medical Students’ Society.
Hoping to pursue her medical career in the Kimberley, Tamisha is particularly passionate about strengthening mental health amongst Aboriginal youth through empowerment and pride. She brings both her personal and professional experiences as a young Aboriginal woman having witnessed both the breakdown of communities due to the devastating effects of suicide, as well as the strengthening of communities as a result of Aboriginal success in education and leadership.
Timothy Marney was appointed as Mental Health Commissioner in February 2014. A graduate of Murdoch University, Timothy has 20 years experience in economics and finance with the State and Federal Governments. He joined the WA Department of Treasury in 1993, where he held the position of Under Treasurer of Western Australia since 2005. In his role as Under Treasurer, he gained an in‐depth understanding of the health system and health reform initiatives. He also held responsibility for the State Government’s procurement agency, led the Government’s Economic Audit and subsequent reform of non-government service delivery.
Timothy has served on the board of beyondblue, the national depression and anxiety initiative, since 2008, and has been deputy chair of the board since 2010. He has been a vocal advocate of mental health issues and has spoken openly of his own experience with depression and anxiety.
Jane Mouritz, and her family, live and work on their wheat and beef cattle property near Hyden in the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia. Jane is a director of Hydillowah Pty Ltd.
Jane is keenly involved in the Hyden community and has served in local government, and on state and national advisory committees, including the Regional Communities Program, Stronger Families and Communities Initiative and the National Advisory Committee for Ageing. In her volunteer roles with Hyden Progress Association since 1978, Jane has coordinated projects to enhance rural people’s quality of life and improve service access.
Jane was awarded 2001 Outstanding Rural Leader of the Year by the Australian Rural Leadership Network, and completed the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2004. In 2003 she received an Australian Centenary Medal for services to rural communications. She has been a member of the WA Lotfeeders Association, and a director of Greening Australia WA and Western Australian Community Foundation. Jane is currently a director of Leadership WA.
In 2012 and 2013 Jane was employed as One Life Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Wheatbelt Aboriginal and for Wheatbelt Education and Training programs.
Anne Richards was born and raised in Perth, her background is in education and communication, having taught in both Australia and South Africa. She has worked in various roles in schools and TAFE colleges, lectured in Business Communications and worked in Corporate Training and Development.
Anne has a keen interest in sport and has represented both her State and Australia in squash. She holds several World Masters Squash titles. Anne is the reigning Australian Masters Champion and World ranked number two. Her interest in sport and her education background merged when she became Manager of the Athlete Career and Education Programme (ACE) for the Queensland Academy of Sport, overseeing all aspects of the personal development of our Olympic and elite athletes. The direction of Anne’s life changed when she lost her eldest son Mark to suicide in 2009. Having been very close to him through his long battle with depression and related issues she has a strong “lived experience.” She is passionate about raising awareness, increasing understanding and reducing stigma associated with mental health and suicide. She believes strongly in early intervention and is currently part of the Young Men’s Project chaired by Professor Pat McGorry which aims to shift the way young men think about mental health issues. She is also a supporter and Ambassador for Youth Focus. Anne speaks publicly about her experiences in a variety of forums. suicide. Alison has a particular interest in the need for suicide postvention services and addressing the intergenerational risks of suicide.
Professor Cobie Rudd
Professor Cobie Rudd [BHSc(N), MPH, PhD, GAICD] is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Partnerships) and Vice-President, Edith Cowan University (ECU).
Previously, she was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Advancement), Professor of Mental Health, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Delegate (Accreditation) at ECU and one of five National Teaching Fellows appointed by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching in 2011; the first in simulation.
Professor Rudd has led a range of collaborative research projects, including in the area of interprofessional practice in community-based suicide prevention training.
Professor Rudd has previously lived and worked in Queensland and Canberra in senior policy research and advisory roles for both state and commonwealth governments. For example, in the mid-1990s, she developed the successful new initiative bid to target suicide prevention among young people, the Young People at Risk: Access, Prevention and Action Program.
Chris Salisbury is the Chief Executive of Rio Tinto’s iron ore business, with around 12,000 employees spread across the Pilbara and Perth and several regional Fly in – Fly out hubs. The business comprises an integrated system of 15 mines, 1700 kilometres of rail, 4 independent port terminals and related infrastructure, all linked by the Operations Centre in Perth. Iron ore products are shipped to all major Asian steel mill customers, including in China, Japan and Korea.
Chris has worked for Rio Tinto for nearly 30 years and held a variety of operational and senior management and Board roles across bauxite, alumina refining, aluminum smelting, coal, port logistics and uranium.
His breadth of international and national experience has included chief executive Copper and Coal: chief operating officer Rio Tinto Coal Australia and accountable for Zululand Anthracite Colliery; managing director Rössing Uranium Ltd; chief operating officer Pacific – Bauxite and Alumina; and chief executive – Energy Resources of Australia.
Chris is active externally as a board member of the Minerals Council of Australia, the Energy and Minerals Institute (UWA) and the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Council. Chris continues to focus on opportunities for Indigenous Australians, and inclusion and diversity initiatives.
Chris holds a metallurgical engineering degree and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Chris is married with three mature age children.
Dani Wright Toussaint
Dani Wright Toussaint has been the Coordinator at the WA AIDS Council’s Freedom Centre since 2007, after volunteering there since 2005 while working in the sexual health and disability sectors. Dani graduated from Edith Cowan University with a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours). Dani’s role at Freedom Centre has seen them support hundreds of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and otherwise sexually and gender diverse) young people, while also developing the drop-in service’s best practices monitoring and evaluation processes for their unique peer based approach through working with Curtin University’s Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (formerly WA Centre For Health Promotion Research). In 2012, Freedom Centre was awarded the Mental Health Good Outcomes WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Award for human rights, equity and diversity in mental health and Dani was awarded the WA Youth Award for Most Outstanding Youth Worker.
Dani is a LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and SafeTALK trainer, who enthusiastically educates and empowers others to do what they can to prevent suicide. Dani is also a Board member of the National LGBTI Health Alliance and Living Proud LGBTI Community Services WA and convenes the Advisory Group for MindOUT: the first National LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Project of its kind.
Dani is a dedicated new parent, passionate about suicide prevention and mental health promotion, and is committed to promoting the wellbeing of marginalised people through individual and systemic actions.