The founder of Western Australia’s Body Esteem Program and recipient of the 2007 Leadership Achievement Award for Women, Liz Everard has more than 20 years of experience in the mental health sector.
Liz completed her nursing degree in the Netherlands and has worked in a variety of roles both in Australia and overseas.
Liz’s personal passion for mental health advocacy was spurred by the death of her brother who struggled with schizophrenia and took his own life in 1994. She envisages the establishment of holistic mental health environments across Australia, where people living with complex mental health issues can develop and utilise their strengths in a way that builds self-confidence and sense of meaningful contribution.
Liz’s Hocking Fellowship project aims to research various therapeutic farm communities that exist in the United States and Ireland. Therapeutic farms provide a variety of accommodation options, as well as psychiatric treatment and a full continuum of care for adults living with complex mental health issues. Liz will explore how this model of care could be provided in the Australian context.
Clinical nurse educator and former primary school teach, Alison Salisbury was the primary carer for her son who died by suicide, aged 19, two and half years after a previous, non-fatal attempt.
During the period of supporting her son, Alison became acutely aware of the stress, fatigue and burnout associated with her caring role and the lack of integrated support services available to her in Tasmania.
Alison plans to compare the lived experiences of carers in Tasmania, the UK and Italy – three jurisdictions that provide quite different models of mental health and carer support services. Her project will explore each model through storytelling: carer participants share their experiences and ideas about which support services have proven most valuable to them in their caring roles.
Alison hopes the findings of her project will support the introduction of best practice community-based carer support services throughout Australia, and empower those caring for loved ones with complex mental health issues.