Meet our senior team
Our senior team have a great blend of skills and knowledge of mental health services.
The team is led by Helen Makregiorgos. She comes to the role from Women’s Health West where she was Senior Manager of Health Promotion, Research and Development.
Helen has worked in various leadership and senior management roles across the health sector, including mental health, women’s health and sexual assault. She has worked extensively with mental health consumers including advocacy work across a range of social sectors, and in the development of accessible resources and programs.
Our senior advocates(Left to right) Senior advocates Martha Papagiannis, Liz Carr and Liz Krause
Liz Carr, who will be our Bendigo-based advocate, previously held the role of Acting Director at the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council. Liz, who has a background in community development, worked at the council for 16 years, and having lived experience of mental illness, is passionate about the potential of the new service.
‘It’s powerful stuff. The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council does wonderful work, but we only had three advocates throughout the state. It will be really exciting to see the gap in accessing independent support for people being held for compulsory treatment being addressed,’ Liz says.
Liz has an interesting perspective on how people who have a mental illness experience services in rural areas. ‘Surprisingly enough, in some ways they do things better. People are more inclined to notice and pay attention if you’re unwell. Though there may be fewer services, they are easier to navigate and can have a greater sense of responsibility for their community.’
Martha Papagiannis, who will be based in our Melbourne office, is a social worker whose professional background includes work with the young mums’ clinic at the Royal Women’s Hospital and case management of asylum seekers.
Martha has managed funding and service agreements of organisations who delivered out of home care, humanitarian settlement and family violence services.
The impact of trauma and mental illness, and the difficulties people can have in navigating systems, have been common themes across this work.
‘I’ve also worked with agencies on training skills and packages, and advising them on breaking down service barriers,’ Martha says. ‘I’m looking forward to working for Independent Mental Health Advocacy because it’s new, the first of its kind.'
Liz Krause has worked as a mental health nurse for more than 20 years and so has viewed the service system through a different lens.
Traditional nursing, she says, was in fact based on advocacy on behalf of patients. Though that skill has been diminished with the more technical focus of modern nursing, she is looking forward to the opportunities inherent in that aspect of her new role, and helping to bring about the culture change that is implicit in the new Mental Health Act 2014.
‘On a personal note, I’ve been a carer for a person with mental illness and have seen at first-hand how hard it can be to get support,’ says Liz, who will be working from our Geelong office.
Reviewed 23 July 2021