Ms Leilani Darwin, National Consultant

Leilani is an Aboriginal woman who has been touched on a personal level many times by suicide and mental illness. Through her own lived experience and work within the sector she is a strong advocate for inclusive practices with consumer and carer voices in program development and policy change.
Leilani is the 2016 recipient of the LiFE Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention across Australia. She recently won the QLD Mental Health week 2017 Jude Bugjera Peer Experience award.

Her strength in navigating mainstream mental health services whilst educating and advocating for the cultural considerations and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has seen requests for her to share her expertise grow. Leilani is currently consulting with UWA at the School of Indigenous Studies.

Mr Russell Evans, Principal Policy Officer, Queensland Mental Health Commission

Russell Evans is a Principal Policy Officer with the Queensland Mental Health Commission, advising on mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention and suicide prevention. He has held research, evaluation and policy advisory roles with the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Queensland University School or Population Health, Queensland Family and Child Commission, and the Queensland Department of Education. Russell’s current work focuses on translating evidence into sound policy and practice.

Professor Philip Morris, President, Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association. (Conference Chair)

Prof Morris has medical qualifications MBBS (Hons), BSc(med) (Hons), and PhD. He is qualified in psychiatry and addiction medicine in Australia and is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP) and a Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (FAChAM) of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). He is qualified in general adult psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry in both Australia and the USA and is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (AmBPN). Dr Morris is a member of the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry and the Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry of the RANZCP. Prof Morris is a Distinguished Fellow and Board Director of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatry.

Prof Morris is Executive Director of the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association. He is Medical Director of the Gold Coast Memory Disorders Clinic. He is a Past President of the Gold Coast Medical Association. He has a private psychiatric, psychogeriatric, and medico-legal practice on the Gold Coast. He is a member of the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee and is a Senior Medical Advisor to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Prof Morris is visiting Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University. Prof Morris has held professor positions in psychiatry at the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, and at the School of Health Sciences at Bond University.

Mr David Nancarrow, Mental Health Worker/Trainer, OzHelp Tasmania

For the past 15 year David has had a wide variety of counselling and professional experiences. He first started in the Education Department as a counsellor for primary aged children running programs about social awareness and behaviours. As child consultant David has worked extensively with Symbol and Sand Tray Therapy for child who have experienced trauma and family separation.

His work as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner involved working with couples who had recently separated and assist them develop workable parenting plans for the betterment of the children. A period of his work focused on assisting fathers improve their relationship with their children and partners. David developed the Core Value Therapeutic model in 2007 that has greatly addressed anger management, domestic violence, mental health issues and relationship breakdowns in clients. He has been a Regional Manager of a Mental Health organisation which utilized the ‘Boston Model’ of mental health recovery. David is now a workplace trainer for government, non-government and business sector.  His passion is to help equip people understand their mental health so they can be emotionally healthy living successfully and having lasting relationships.

Dr Lyn O'Grady, Manager, Strategic Projects, The Australian Psychological Society

Lyn O’Grady is an experienced Community Psychologist with a particular interest in the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and families. This interest has extended in recent times to understanding suicidality and she has recently graduated with the Master of Suicidology from Griffith University.

Lyn’s work history has included roles within the education, health and community sectors. She has worked with parents in parenting programs, individually at the community level and in schools for over 20 years.

Lyn has also worked as a school psychologist in the Western Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. At a more systemic level, she currently works as Manager, Strategic Projects at the Australian Psychological Society.

Ms Carol Purtell, Clinic Director, MindSpot, Macquarie University

Carol is an experienced Senior Executive, mental health specialist and Registered Nurse with a Masters of Social Science (Counselling) with over 30 years of leadership experience in Australia and abroad. Carol has participated in a broad spectrum of mental health settings designing policy, developing programs and setting operational and strategic direction, both nationally and internationally. Carol has advised and chaired National Health Committees and participated in a range of Clinical Care, Quality, Risk Management and Medical Advisory Committees and has collaborated with government, private, academic and not for profit organisations to ensure excellence in patient care.

In Australia, Carol has worked in Senior Management roles in mental health services for Ramsay Health Care, St John of God Health Services and beyondblue. As beyondblue’s National Program Manager for the National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI) Carol participated in the beyondblue Guidelines Expert Advisory Committee which developed the beyondblue Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines. These Guidelines were endorsed by the National Health Medical Research Council and have been widely distributed throughout Australia and referred to internationally.

Carol’s current role is as the Clinic Director of the MindSpot Clinic a free nationwide telephone and online information, assessment and treatment service for Australian adults experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression located at Macquarie University. MindSpot provides accessible and clinically effective mental health services to more than 20,000 Australians each year. Many of the people using MindSpot do not access traditional mental health services due to a variety of barriers including stigma, shame, a lack of services outside major cities, and a reluctance to speak to health providers about symptoms. This current role continues Carol’s commitment to advancing mental health services through high-quality, innovative and evidence-based treatment.

Ms Gabrielle Vilic, Director Social Inclusion and Recovery, Addiction and Mental Health Services, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Queensland Health


Ms Gabrielle Vilic is a well-respected leader in the mental health sector with over 24 years’ experience, working across government and government sectors. She joined Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services as the Director for Social Inclusion and Recovery in 2013. Gabrielle has developed the lived experience workforce to over 50 positions in the last 4 years in MSAMHS.

Gabrielle has won a number of state-wide awards for her achievements in the area of mental health. She has and continues to be involved in research and has published a number of abstracts around consumer and carer participation.

Gabrielle is actively involved on a range of committees, including as the newly appointed Deputy Chair of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council. Gabrielle is the Chairperson for the State-wide Consumer and Carer Network meeting.

She has also worked as a consumer consultant for the Gold Coast Mental Health Service and provided consumer input in all aspect of the service’s planning, delivery and evaluation, and assist in improving the service’s response to consumer needs.

Gabrielle was also involved in coordinating the implementation of the Mental Illness Education Program into Queensland primary and secondary schools. The program focused on positive lifestyle choices, self-awareness, and early recognition and intervention for potential mental health issues.

Gabrielle areas of interest include the development of consumer and carer workforce, consumer led research, reduction of seclusion and restraint, and consumer feedback.

Mr Philip Williams, Manager headspace Southport Enhanced Program, Lives Lived Well

Philip Williams is the Operations and Performance Manager for the headspace Southport and the headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program Southport.  Philip is a registered Occupational Therapist who has worked within multiple mental health settings both in the public and non-government sector.

Philip has established early psychosis services both within the state mental health and non-government sectors.  Over his career Philip has engaged actively with research and has worked on a range of quantitative and qualitative clinical evaluation studies.  Philip’s interests remain focussed on the mental health care and functional recovery of young people living with or at risk of developing a major mental illness.