The expertise, dedication, professionalism and hard work of Heather Casey, Southern DHB Director of Nursing Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability has been recognised at the 2019 Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand programme for service to mental health.

Heather Casey and the Hon Greg Hunt MP.

Heather won the award in the Exceptional Contribution category given in recognition of her outstanding contribution to mental health service delivery.

The award was announced today at the annual Mental Health Services Conference held in Brisbane, Queensland, and presented by The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health.

Heather, who has worked for the Southern DHB for over 20 years has played a significant leadership role in mental health nursing incorporating clinical service input to local and national policy as well as research and teaching. She’s been instrumental in developing the role of mental health nurse practitioner, mentoring and supporting nurses with leadership potential.

She has championed the need for, and piloting of a primary care nursing focused mental health and addiction credential programme. This has led to a programme that eight years on, is doubling in size year on year, and currently has nearly 300 credentialed primary care nurses engaged in mental health and addictions best practice delivery.

Heather also holds a significant number of professional roles including a member of the Health Quality and Safety Commission’s National Mental Health and Addictions Quality Improvement Programme Leadership group, supporting the programme at local, regional and national levels.

Southern DHB Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Jane Wilson says she’s delighted Heather has received this well-deserved award.

“Heather is a true nursing leader and has a real passion for mental health nursing. She has worked tirelessly to grow the profession and is making a significant contribution to mental health services. Southern DHB is very fortunate to have Heather as one of our Directors of Nursing.”

The Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand are presented every year by The Mental Health Services Learning Network to recognise and encourage best practice, excellence and innovation in mental health service delivery. The awards have been presented annually since 1992.

The Mental Health Services Learning Network aims to promote positive attitudes about mental health and mental illness, and to stimulate debate that challenges the boundaries of knowledge and ideas about mental health care.


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