What Does Being a Mental Health Commissioner Mean to Me?

The following was kindly written and contributed by Sharon Lawn, SA Mental Health Commissioner 

As I ponder yet another week of working from home and the end of another busy day jumping from one task and topic to the next within this diverse role, I turn my thoughts to the topic of being a Mental Health Commissioner.

Sharon Lawn, SA Mental Health Commissioner

Sharon Lawn, SA Mental Health Commissioner

As a ‘lived experience’ Commissioner, I’m very conscious of mental health and wellbeing in all its forms, but particularly for those who are most marginalised. Doing so provides me with the fundamentals that guide the role; being conscious of the central importance of mental health and wellbeing to guide what it is to be human and how we treat each other, what all of us need for our basic wellbeing, what helps each of us to not only survive but also flourish.

It’s a time when the rights and protections that we expect for ourselves and our families are also afforded to the most vulnerable in society, particularly as we each do our bit to attempt to contain and respond to the impacts of Covid-19. Yet it’s also a time of great opportunity to stop, reflect and build a more positive sense of what we all share and celebrate the diversity, to put aside our differences and prejudices. We have much to learn from those who already know what social isolation and disconnection is like.

It’s also a time when the evidence of people’s capacity to be more active in self-care of the mind and the body, and care of the community and others and the environment, is even more evident.

As a lived experience Mental Health Commissioner, my role is to ensure we don’t lose focus on what matters to all of us and our families and communities; our shared mental health and wellbeing.​