Health & Wellness

Global mental health leader Taimi Allan appointed Mental Health Commissioner

Taimi Allan’s role is to galvanise a government-wide initiative to support the mental health and overall wellbeing of all South Australians.

In a historic move, globally recognised mental health pioneer Taimi Allan has been appointed as the full-time Mental Health Commissioner for South Australia. This significant appointment comes after a hiatus of over three years since the state last had a dedicated full-time commissioner, a gap that was initiated when the position was dissolved by the former Liberal Government in 2019.

Originally hailing from South Australia, Allan’s impressive credentials position her perfectly for this pivotal role. She is the current Director of Ember Innovations, has been an influential member of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission in New Zealand, served as a Mental Health Advisor to the Royal Commission on Abuse in State Care, and was the Deputy Chair of the Suicide Mortality Review Committee.

Allan’s role is to galvanise a government-wide initiative to support the mental health and overall wellbeing of all South Australians. Integral to this task, the Commission collaborates with those who have personal experience with mental illness, their families, carers, medical providers, and other significant figures like Nadia Clancy, the Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention.

The significance of having a full-time commissioner cannot be understated. The need for a full-time commissioner was recommended by the preceding part-time lead Mental Health Commissioner, John Mannion, who resigned last December. His duties were shared with Heather Nowak and David Kelly, all serving part-time.

Allan’s transition to this vital position involves her relocating from New Zealand and will officially take charge in late October. In alignment with her arrival, the South Australian Government is pushing the envelope in mental health investments, committing $294 million. This sum will cater for 100 new mental health beds across several hospitals and fund in-home treatment for patients equivalent to an additional 20 beds.

Chris Picton MP Minister for Health & Wellbeing, expressed his sentiments on Allan’s appointment, saying “Taimi is an incredible South Australian, renowned globally for her work in mental health. I have every confidence she will embrace the role of the Mental Health Commissioner and help us deliver the needed improvements to the broader mental health system across our state.”

Embracing this new chapter, Allan reflected on her personal journey with mental health, “I used the Mental Health system in South Australia through my teens and twenties and I know personally how difficult navigating the system can be.
“My own recovery has led to me working in mental health for the past 20 years and I am delighted I can now bring everything I have learned back home.
“I want to bring hope to South Australians. Recovery is not just possible, but probable and it’s my job to help others bring networks together so South Australia can learn from what is working right across the globe.”

Nicole Keller, the Executive Director of Mental Health and Wellbeing, lauds Allan’s appointment as a monumental gain for all residents, “Taimi’s appointment is a real win for all South Australians. She’s a passionate advocate and has inspired so much positive change through her extensive work.

“We expect the new Commissioner will have a strong focus on working in partnership with people with lived experience, their families and carers.”

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