National mental health commissioner Lucy Brogden.Credit:Peter Rae
Lucy Brogden, national mental health commissioner and champion of workplace suicide prevention and wellbeing, has been appointed to the Order of Australia as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours.
"You can't help but feel great pride and appreciate the recognition," Mrs Brogden said.
"But I think it also makes you focus on how much you want to do and get done. Perhaps this will help."
Mrs Brogden's husband, former NSW opposition leader John Brogden, attempted suicide while in office in 2005.
Mrs Brogden has since turned her professional attention to workplace mental health, becoming co-chair of the Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention, patron to Lifeline, Sydney Women's fund and Partners in Depression, interim chair of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and from 2014 chair and commissioner of the National Mental Health Commission.
She has advocated for employees to receive an allowance for so-called mental health days, and has encouraged the government to roll out new, more stable funding arrangements for community mental health organisations.
But Mrs Brogden says more must be done.
"It has been wonderful to see particularly over the last 10, 15 years, the incredible bipartisan support for improved mental health," she said, noting increased funding for youth mental health initiative headspace.
"But we have to recognise while investment is going up there is still more to do. If individuals improve their own mental health literacy that will really help."
Mrs Brogden became a Member of the Order of Australia days after a roundtable meeting with Health Minister Greg Hunt in which sector funding and suicide prevention strategy was discussed.
She said mental health will remain at the fore in years to come.
"It's an illness and a situation that doesn't discriminate and really affects the whole of society."
Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.
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