February 2022 : Campus Mental Health Strategy E-Update

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We hope you had a relaxing break over the Christmas period.  Our team are now back on deck, refreshed and ready to get stuck into 2022. 

The Campus Mental Health Strategy aims to integrate mental health research, clinical practice, and education.  With lived experience at its core, the strategy aims to “make mental health everyone’s business”.

Our Vision:  that all infants, children and young people, families and their carers will be able to access high quality, equitable and consistent prevention, and mental health care where and when they need it to achieve sustained, optimised developmental, health and wellbeing outcomes.

In this E-update, we’d like to introduce you to our new team members and provide an update as the Strategy moves from the Initiation phase, into the Engage and Design phase.

As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  1. Welcome to our new team members

We are really pleased to introduce you to our new Campus Mental Health Strategy Implementation Team members who have joined Belinda Horton, Program Director, Cath Laird, Senior Clinical Implementation Lead and Greg Hammond our Mental Health Central Administrator.

  • Cherie Wallace, Dr Catherine Olweny and Emily Cull will be sharing the role of Senior Project Officer Trauma Informed Preventative Care. The combined experience of Cherie, Catherine and Emily in this field and within RCH is extraordinary, and we are thrilled to have them as part of the team, and excited to see the great work that will come out of this group.
  • Briony Norris is our Senior Project Officer Family Centred Care, Mental Health Education and Support. Briony is a paediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) and has been a valued member of the RCH OT Team, prior to that she worked in Southeast Asia working to improve health outcomes for young people. Welcome Briony, we can’t wait to see where you take this wonderful role.
  • Fran Hardcastle is the Senior Project Officer Consistent and Quality Care. Fran is new to the Campus, a Social Worker by trade, and has previously worked in child and family services. We are looking forward to welcoming Fran when she arrives later in the month.
  • Emily Unity is our Senior Project Officer Mental Health Lived Experience.  We are thrilled to welcome Emily to the team with a professional background as a lived experience consultant and peer worker. Emily also has lived experience of the youth Mental Health system as both a consumer and a young carer. Emily is passionate about ensuring that the voices of children, young people, families, and carers are at every level of the Strategy. 
  • Professor Amanda Wood is our new Research Lead, extending her MCRI and RCH roles in leading the development of the Campus Mental Health Research Strategy. We are looking forward to learning from Amanda as an academic clinician with more than ten years postdoctoral research experience in developing and delivering programs of work that matter to families, clinicians, and policy makers.
  • Associate Professor Femke Buisman-Pijlman from the University of Melbourne is our new Academic Lead. We are really pleased to welcome Femke as we bring together all our fantastic educators and their work from across the Campus to inform the integration of the Strategy outcomes into workforce education programs.
  • Anitha Thiraviarajah has joined MCRI as our Advocacy Lead, an experienced public health professional. We have a lot to learn from Anitha’s experience in WA and NSW working in local government and the not-for-profit sectors in advocacy, research and evaluation, policy, partnerships and knowledge translation.

A warm welcome to all our new Strategy Implementation Team members.  We are looking forward to working with you.

  1. Recruitment continues

We are progressing with the recruitment of the remaining key roles within the Strategy, and we are on track to have all roles filled by the end of the year.

  • Clinical Implementation Coordinator in Enabler - Implementation
  • Research Assistants in Key Areas and Enablers
  • Clinical Education Fellows in Key Area - Education
  • Clinical Innovators in Key Area - Consistent Quality Care
  1. Working with the Mental Health Transformation Team

The Strategy Implementation Team would like to extend a warm welcome to Jane Blurton and her new RCH CAMHS Mental Health Transformation team. Jane and her team will implement the Royal Commission recommendations into the RCH CAMHS Mental Health service. 

Together, the RCH CAMHS Mental Health Transformation and the Campus Mental Health Strategy provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the way we think about and practice mental health care across the Campus. 


  1. Who’s who

The Strategy is divided into 4 Key Areas of work: Family Centred Care, Constant Quality Care, Research and Education. The table below list the projects in each Key Area and the key people driving the change.  We would like to extend a warm welcome and many thanks to all our Advisory Leads. 

Table 1: Strategy Key Areas and Advisory Leads

Key Area


Senior Project Officers

Advisory Leads

Family Centred Care: 


·      A detection and support model for sibling and carer mental health

·      Carer/ staff Mental Health literacy (resources)

Briony Blanks Norris

Sarah Connolly

Prof. Campbell Paul

·      Common language and shared understanding of trauma informed and preventative care 

·      A safe approach to de-escalation of behaviours of concern

Dr Catherine Olweny

Cherie Wallace

Emily Cull

Rachel Tolan

Renee Testa

Consistent Quality Care

·      Evidence Based Clinical Practice Guidelines 

·      Care Pathways & Measurement Based Care

For common mental health concerns.  This team will focus on anxiety first.

Fran Hardcastle

Prof. Dave Coghill

Dr Alice Morgan


  1. What’s next?

The Strategy Implementation Team have mapped the key phases of the implementation of the Strategy over the next 2 years (Figure 1). As the Initiation phase completes, and the project moves into the Engage and Design phase, the rubber really starts to hit the road.  You can expect to see (and be involved in) co-design sessions, workshops, and some creative and deep thinking.  We are also very excited to commence our lived experience engagement and involvement plan and continue the great work that is underway on the Mental Health Central website. 

As always, if you are keen to be involved or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact cmhs@mcri.edu.au

Figure 1:  Campus Mental Health Strategy Timeline

The Strategy is generously funded by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, we thank them for their ongoing support.

Acknowledgement of Country

Australian Aboriginal Flag
Progress Pride Flag
Torres Strait Islander Flag

At Mental Health Central we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, gather and work. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge all people with a lived or living experience of mental ill-health and recovery. At the Campus, we particularly acknowledge children, young people, families, carers, and supporters. We recognise their vital contribution and value the courage of those who share this unique perspective for the purpose of learning and growing together to achieve better outcomes for the Campus, staff, sector, and all people of lived experience.


Proudly supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation