The MHFA community have recently welcomed Dr Shona Bass as the new Chief Executive Officer of MHFA Australia.
With a PhD in Medicine from the University of Melbourne, and a Master’s in Applied Science Research from RMIT University, Shona brings a wealth of experience in evidence-based and scientific research and in health leadership and advocacy to MHFA Australia.
Shona was previously Head of the Exercise and Nutrition Science School at Deakin University, and was also the owner and managing director of Early Life Foundations, an international consultancy that delivered expertise and support to parents, educators, local government and private organisations to create optimal learning environments for children aged 0-14 years.
MHFA Australia chair and co-founder Professor Tony Jorm said “Dr Bass joins us as we undertake to further transform the way Mental Health First Aid is recognised and provided in Australia, and as we seek to develop a Mental Health First Aid community globally,"
The appointment comes at a time when MHFA Australia’s home state of Victoria is promising profound changes for mental health, through the landmark Royal Commission into Mental Health, which is currently being set up by the State Government.
"We welcome last weekend's announcement of broad Terms of Reference and the appointment of outstanding Commissioners to lead this historic process, and look forward to contributing expert insights from MHFA's work into key areas of early intervention and support for people experiencing a mental health issue," Professor Jorm said.
Dr Bass said "As the new CEO of MHFA Australia, I’m proud to be leading such an important organisation at such a key time. With mental ill-health estimated to cost Australia around $60 billion – or 4% of GDP – every year, the advantages of early intervention are clear. Our vision is for mental health first aid to be required and delivered in the same places and with the same skills as we expect for physical first aid. Raising our leadership profile and participation in our programs will be my first priority as we seek to make mental health first aid a requirement in any substantive workplace."