Program Sub-Committee

Debra Parnell
Policy and Communications Manager, VICSERV

Debra Parnell joined the VICSERV team as Policy and Communications Manager in 2013, bringing extensive skills and experience in policy development, consultation and engagement. In this role she is responsible for ensuring the key issues for community managed mental health services and their consumers are identified and represented in the VICSERV's policy work to government and other stakeholders.

She previously worked with COTA Victoria and Alzheimer's Australia Vic building processes for the consultation with, and engagement of, consumers, families and carers and service providers on key issues at the local, state and national levels, and communicating with stakeholders on these issues.

And in the distant past, worked in the State Government Department of Human Services where she held program and contract management responsibilities for a range of community support program areas at both Regional and Central office levels.

Dr Lisa Brophy PhD, MPolLaw, BSW, BBSc
Senior Research Fellow, The Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne; Director of Research, Mind Australia

Lisa has a career long commitment to the mental health field of practice. She has a professional background in Social Work and a Masters in Policy and Law. Her PhD focused on good practice with people on Community Treatment Orders and she has been involved in local and international collaborations regarding mental health law and its implications for policy, law reform and direct practice. As Director of Research at Mind, Lisa has developed and is implementing Mind's Research and Evaluation Framework which is focused on recovery and social inclusion. Lisa's current research interests include the implications of the shift to individualised funding for people with psychosocial disability and efforts to reduce coercion and restrictive practice. She is also actively leading program evaluation and outcome measurement projects.

Joe Cassar - to Feb 2016
General Manager Service Development, NEAMI National


Joe is passionate about supporting people living in the community to participate and lead full and meaningful lives. He has worked in the community and local government sectors for 25 years with stints in homeless, housing, carer and mental health services.


In the last 14 years Joe has worked in management positions at Neami National. Joe has managed a variety of projects, programs and services and has supported and participated in the ongoing development and growth of the organisation. As a Regional manager, Joe has overseen the establishment of a number of high profile programs such as the merger with the Inner East Mental Health Services Association and Wadamba Wilam, a holistic social and emotional wellbeing program for Aboriginal people living with a mental illness and experiencing homelessness.


During the 2014/15 MHCSS recommissioning process, Joe was involved in the establishment of Neami's Intake Assessment service operating across five Melbourne Metropolitan catchments.

Laura Collister
Director, Mental Health Services, Research & Development, MI Fellowship

Laura began her career as an occupational therapist in large psychiatric hospitals. She worked as a case manager in community mental health settings where her keen interest in the delivery of community-based rehabilitation programs decided her specialty. She believes passionately in looking at what is possible for people living with a mental illness, and the opportunities that come through employment.

Laura has embedded evidence-based practice and comprehensive evaluation frameworks into programs and services, and she has re-designed the organisation's quality systems and associated data collection and reporting mechanisms. Laura currently holds overall national management responsibility for the suite of rehabilitation programs provided by MI Fellowship. She leads MI Fellowship's engagement in research and evaluation projects in partnerships with universities and clinical partners.

Laura has been an active member of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory sub-committee on Workforce Participation, the Victorian Department of Health's Prevention and Recovery Care Advisory Committee, Day Program Review Reference Group and MHCA NDIS Consultation Group. She is a board member of ReGen.

Anne Finch - from March 2016
Carer Engagement & policy, Tandem Inc

Anne is currently the carer engagement and policy officer at Tandem, working to facilitate carer participation in policy, service and systems development across Victoria.  Her focus is on the delivery of training for mental health professionals in family inclusiveness practice and on the delivery of training to carers and carer groups to increase their skills to participate in the mental health system and be involved in treatment and planning, with increased knowledge of mental illness.

Anne Finch has worked in international development in the sectors of health, education, women’s empowerment and rural development.  Anne’s background is in the post-compulsory education sector and she has been involved in the development of education programs and educational resources over many years and in a variety of contexts. She is a committed advocate for the support of carers, and for the potential of a change of practice approach to comprehensively including families and carers to significantly improve the burden of mental illness in our society.

Karen Fraser - to Feb 2016
Communications and Events Management, Carer Peer Workforce Portfolio, TANDEM


Karen has worked extensively in events management, marketing and community development. She is a passionate advocate for education and carer support, to foster meaningful lives, strengthen community and improve personal wellbeing.

Study and her caring role led on to an appointment as a Carer Consultant at Eastern Health Child and Youth Mental Health Service. Initiating several new programs and support mechanisms for carers and families, Karen was awarded the state-wide Integrity Award for service delivery in Health and Mental Health. For the past 5 years, her lived experience and professional skills have been focused on advocacy for mental health carers and the carer peer workforce.

Most recently Karen was the Communications and Events Manager, and held the Carer Peer Workforce Portfolio at Tandem.

Lorrinda Hamilton
Network Director, SalvoConnect Barwon


As Network Director at SalvoConnect Barwon, a provider of a range of social programs and services to the Barwon region including, Lorrinda is actively involved in the piloting of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in that region.

She has held leadership positions in the community sector for more than 20 years,. She has extensive experience in the areas of homelessness, mental health, alcohol and other drugs, family violence as well as criminal justice systems. She has also worked across State and Federal bureaucracies and Ministerial offices.

Lorrinda has expertise in policy analysis, governance; change management; funding procurement; research key stakeholder relationship management and project management.

Kieran Halloran
Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network

Kieran Halloran is a social worker who has worked in community mental health and disability services in Victoria for more than two decades.

He has been drawn to working at the growing edges of the sector and has specialised in practice that seeks better outcomes for people who have multiple complex service needs. He pioneered complex care practice with Mind Australia and has worked closely with multiple and complex needs initiatives with the Victorian Government, State agencies and NGOs.

Partners in Recovery has been an exciting initiative which Kieran has led since 2013 in the Northern Region of Melbourne. In this role he has represented the Medicare Local and now the Eastern Melbourne PHN and joined with a large consortium of local agencies, consumers and carers to create and steer the direction of Northern Melbourne PIR.

North East Melbourne is now a next stage site for the NDIS, and Kieran and his PIR colleagues are working to plan for the next steps needed to prepare PIR consumers, carers and providers to transition in the most constructive and recovery focussed ways.

Sue Harrison
Senior Trainer, VICSERV

Sue Harrison is the Senior Training Consultant at VICSERV. She commenced at VICSERV in 2010, bringing prior experience in program management, service development and evaluation in the community-managed mental health sector.


Sue has also worked in a variety of inpatient, residential and community mental health services, including case management, intake and assessment, and behavioural support.


Sue's professional interests include workforce training and development, especially the development of new workers in the sector, and the design and development of high-quality training materials.

Chris Hobart
Manager Mental Health Support Services, Mallee Family Care

Biography to come.

Krishna Jones

Coordinator Mental Health Team Southport, Inner South Community Health Service, BASW, CERT IV Training & Assessment

Krishna has worked in the community sector as a social worker for over 20 years with experience in the homeless sector, aged care, mental health, justice, suicide prevention, and telephone and web based counselling.


She has over 10 years' experience in the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Support sector, overseeing the delivery of Day Rehabilitation programs at Prahran Mission (6 years) and more recently in her current role, coordinating the delivery of Mental Health Community Support Services and Complex Care partnerships through Inner South Community health service.


She also sits on the Rehabilitation Consult and Advisory Panel (RECAP), a panel consisting of both clinical and community health representatives in the Alfred catchment.

John Julian
Manager, Clinical Liaison and Training LAMPS Workforce Education, Monash University


John has 35 years plus history as a mental health clinician and social worker and 15 years as a mental health trainer in tertiary, both University and TAFE (Technical and Further Education), settings.


He is currently manager and senior trainer of the LAMPS (Latrobe regional health, Alfred health, Monash health, Peninsula, & South eastern) education and training cluster, one of three clusters funded by the Victorian Mental Health Branch to develop and provide education and workforce development in Victoria.


John specializes in teaching mindfulness, CBT, suicidality and mindful-self compassion programs.


Mindfulness Meditation and Compassion Training


John in an experienced mindfulness trainer and has run well over 50 MBSR and/ or MBCT 8 week programs. He was trained in MBSR by the founders of that program Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli. He has been extensively trained in the clinical version, MBCT, at Monash University.


He regularly runs MBSR and MBCT programs privately in Melbourne and offers similar mindfulness programs to mental health staff in Victoria.


John is also a fully accredited Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) trainer having been trained directly by the founders of this program, Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer.

Simon Katterl - to feb 2016
Community Consumer Advocate, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council

Simon Katterl is a community consumer advocate for VMIAC. As an advocate, Simon's role is to stand with consumers so that their voice and rights are protected at all times. This role is part of a broader passion for social justice, where Simon studied law, politics and psychology.


Prior to working for VMIAC, Simon has worked in community development and education in Australia and East Timor. He has experience teaching and working in politics and policy for Griffith University, the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Simon believes these qualities and his lived experience of mental illness will help him promote consumer voices with the aim of improving the mental health system.

Janette Korolew
Carer Peer Worker, MI Fellowship

Janette Korolew is a carer of an adult son with fluctuating mental health who utilises her lived experience in the workforce as a peer worker.

This has been possible due to the generosity of her son who has allowed both his parents to accompany him on his life journey which has been compromised by episodes of psychotic illness.

She currently works in the community sector for MI Fellowship but has had prior experience in the clinical sector as a peer worker. Janette is on the executive of the Carer Consultants Network of Victoria and has increased her carer advocacy profile since the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was trialled in the Barwon region of Victoria

Mary Sayers

Mary Sayers is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) working in close partnership with the CEO, to support the organisation, members, the development of policy and sector sustainability activities.

Prior to VCOSS she was Manager Family, Children and Young People at the City of Whittlesea between 2012 and 2014. Up until 2012 Mary worked nearly 9 years at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) responsible for early childhood policy, translation of research into practice, workforce development, service development and evaluation projects and initiatives.


Mary is on the Board of QEC Early Parenting Centre and is currently President of the Board.

Jennifer Tobin - from March 2016
Acting Regional Manager - Inner North, NEAMI National

Working in the mental health sector for the last 8 years, Jennifer has managed a variety of programs for Neami National in the Northern Melbourne region.  Having completed a Masters in Counselling, Jennifer is passionate about person-centred practice and trauma-informed approaches to mental health recovery.  In 2014, Jennifer played a vital role in providing transition support to consumers during the Victorian PDRSS/MHCSS reforms and is dedicated to providing quality, recovery-oriented care.

Jennifer’s major areas of interest include cultural responsiveness, gender equality, and LGBTIQ inclusivity; additionally Jennifer works to increase opportunities for family focused practice within the community mental health sector.