Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council (ASPAC) - Members

ASPAC member bios

Professor Ian Webster AO (Chair)

Professor Ian Webster 

Professor Webster AO is a physician and Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine of the University of New South Wales and Patron of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia. He has held senior appointments in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales and appointments at Monash, Sheffield and Sydney Universities. He was Chair of the former National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention and presently is Chair of the NSW Expert Advisory Group on Drugs and Alcohol, President of the Governing Council of the Ted Noffs Foundation, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, and is a Director of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation. He practises as a physician in South West Sydney, Nowra, NSW and in a clinic for the homeless at the Exodus Foundation, Ashfield, Sydney.

Professor Diego de Leo

Diego de Leo

Professor de Leo is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University, Brisbane, where he also directs the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention. Professor de Leo is Past President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-founder and Past President of the International Academy for Suicide Research (IASR) of which he co-founded the journal Archives of Suicide Research. Professor De Leo has been the initiator of World Suicide Prevention Day (2003). Member of the editorial boards for several internationally renowned refereed journals, he is Editor-in-Chief of the journal CRISIS. Professor de Leo has published extensively with more than 220 refereed journal articles, 125 book chapters, 26 books published in the past 25 years and over 150 conference presentations in total. Winner of 6 international awards, in 2007 he was given the title of Doctor of Science by Griffith University for his work on suicide and psychogeriatrics.

Ms Janet Meagher AM

Janet Meagher

Ms Meagher is currently the Divisional Manager-Inclusion for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Australia. She is a representative of the Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia and a founding member of the NSW Consumer Advisory Group. Ms Meagher has been a Mental Health Consumer activist and advocate for almost 30 years. She has lived with schizophrenia since the early 1970’s. Ms Meagher was a Churchill Fellow in 1994, investigating “Consumer empowerment & self-advocacy…in Great Britain, USA and Canada” and was made a Member of the “Order of Australia” (AM) in 1996 for “work as an advocate on behalf of people with mental illnesses & psychiatric disabilities”. Ms Meagher has a broad experience at national level in the last 20 years and international consumer involvements for the last 15 years. She is former Secretary of the World Federation for Mental Health and holds appointments on both the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council and the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council.

Associate Professor David Ranson

David Ranson

Associate Professor David Ranson is a forensic pathologist, Deputy Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University. Qualified in both law and medicine, he has published widely in the area of forensic medicine, pathology and the law. Associate Professor Ranson is also the immediate past Director of the National Coronial Information System, which is a national internet-based data storage and retrieval system for Australian coronial cases. He is a recognised expert in coronial law, medico-legal informatics and the analysis of intentional injury.   

Ms Barbara Hocking OAM 

Barbara Hocking

From 1995 to 16 July 2012, Ms Barbara Hocking held the position of Executive Director of SANE Australia. SANE Australia is a national organisation helping people affected by mental illness (consumers, their family and other carers), through education, applied research and campaigning for improved services and attitudes. It operates the SANE Helpline, a national Freecall telephone and online service providing information about mental illness, advice and referral to local services and supports. Reducing stigma and discrimination is a special focus for SANE and the SANE Media centre hosts the StigmaWatch program from its website. Ms Hocking represents the community perspective on a wide range of committees and advisory groups, with special interests in suicide prevention and stigma reduction. Previously she was SANE's Education Coordinator and has also worked in Health Promotion and Education in Australia, the United Kingdom and Papua New Guinea.

 Professor Brian Kelly

Professor Brian Kelly was appointed Chair in Psychiatry, Faculty of Health University of Newcastle in March 2009. Professor Kelly has previously been Director of the NSW Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Orange since March 2004, with the University of Newcastle, School of Medicine and Public Health, and continues to play a major leadership role in the Centre’s research, education and service development programs. His role in the rural health includes being a member of the Executive of the NSW Institute of Rural Clinical Services and Training; leading the mental health stream of the Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration; and working with NSW Health Department in the planning and policy development for mental health services in rural NSW. 

Other previous activities include developing and evaluating programs for continuing education of rural health practitioners and mental health promotion in rural communities (including research investigating rural mental health service models through a NSPS funded program investigating methods of improving early intervention for mental health problems among farming communities). Professor Kelly also works with the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, in the mental health impact of climate change and drought in rural areas. He has been leading a state-wide Drought Mental Health Assistance program funded by NSW Government and has led a 3 year NHMRC-funded household survey across rural and remote NSW, investigating determinants of the mental health and wellbeing of rural communities. Other research activities include investigation of treatment methods for comorbid mental illness and substance use disorders, a long standing research and clinical interest in psychological aspects of palliative care, and a past project investigating clinical aspects of suicidal ideation and the wish to hasten death among cancer patients. Other previous research has addressed bereavement in family caregivers, psychosocial aspects of HIV/AIDS and psychiatric complications of cancer.

Dr Michael Dudley

Dr Michael Dudley works as a psychiatrist at Prince of Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospitals, and is a conjoint senior lecturer in psychiatry at University of New South Wales. He has long-standing clinical, public health and research interest in suicide, self-harm and depression in young people. With colleagues Dr Dudley is researching risk and protective factors for suicide and attempted suicide in metropolitan and rural young adults, and the relationship of antidepressants, suicide and attempted suicide in young people. He has ongoing clinical and research interest in indigenous suicide. Michael is on the Advisory Board of Inspire Foundation’s ‘Reach Out!’ Program and is involved in the development of Reach Out Pro, an internet site for health professionals working with young people. He is also involved in refugee mental health clinical work, teaching, research and advocacy and is co-editing a book on Mental Health and Human Rights for Oxford University Press. Dr Dudley also chairs Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA), the national independent advocate for suicide prevention. 

Adele Cox

Adele Cox is a Bunuba & Gija woman from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She has spent the majority of her earlier working life in the Kimberley region in media and in suicide prevention, although has been living and working in Perth since 2001. Having worked as Senior Researcher and Project Manager at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, and most recently as an Academic at the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health & Rural Clinical School of WA at the University of Western Australia. She has also been Director of ACOX Consultancy since2005 part-time with plans to continue private consultancy full-time. Adele is and has been an active member of several committees' at both the State and National levels, including, the  WA State Forensic Mental Health Council, the Ministerial Council for  Suicide Prevention, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children Steering Committee and Design Sub-Committee for the Department of Family and  Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Oxfam Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group, the Taskforce for the Shadow Reporting of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and was formerly the  Chairperson of the National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia  (NIYMA). Adele's commitment to Indigenous affairs comes from a long-standing family history of Indigenous health service provision and  advocacy and continues to be a focus in her life, along with advocacy for  Indigenous youth issues, and Indigenous Affairs generally.

Jorge Aroche 

Mr Jorge Aroche is the Executive Director of the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). Trained as a clinical psychologist, he is Secretary General of the International Society for Health and Human Rights and the Vice President of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.

Associate Professor Siva Bala 

Dr Siva Bala

Associate Professor Siva Bala works as a Regional Psychiatrist with Kimberly Mental Health and Drug Service.  He has been living and working in the Northwest of Australia since 2003. He holds an adjunct appointment as Associate Professor with the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia.  His clinical and research interests include Aboriginal Mental Health, Intellectual Disability, Safety and Quality in Health Care and Medico-legal Psychiatry.

Jenna Denley 

Ms Jenna Denley is an advocate for young people's mental health and has a particular interest in support for young people in rural and regional Australia. She has been a Youth Ambassador for and involved with headspace Central West.

Mr Paul Martin 

Mr Paul Martin is Chair of the National LGBTI Health Alliance and General Manager of the Queensland Association for Health Communities. He has worked and volunteered for LGBT/HIV communities since 1990 in Queensland and nationally, as well as various positions in the United Kingdom.

Associate Professor Morton Rawlin 

Associate Professor Rawlin is a Melbourne based General Practitioner who has extensive experience in general practice medical education at all levels, including as a general practice supervisor and medical educator.