Hunter Institute of Mental Health Director Jaelea Skehan has been announced as a winner in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2014.
Jaelea has been recognised in the local and regional category for her contribution to mental health and suicide prevention locally and nationally.
Over her 14 years at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Jaelea has been instrumental in the development of local, state and national programs that are aimed at reducing mental illness and suicide.
This has included local leadership to build the capacity of individuals, families, workplaces, schools, health services, media and the community to contribute to the prevention of mental illness and the prevention of
“Apart from two years living overseas, I have lived my entire life in Newcastle. While in the past, people have needed to move away from the Hunter region to advance their careers this is not the case now,” Jaelea said.
“I get to lead an innovative and well-respected organisation that works to prevent mental illness and suicide nationally from our base here in Newcastle. There is great knowledge, expertise and a sense of innovation here in the Hunter and I like to take that with me in work I do across the country.”
“We like to bring our National and state-wide work to the Hunter where we can. For example, our local media are engaged with our national work under the Mindframe National Media Initiative and we have been working with Aboriginal communities across the region to develop resources for talking about suicide under the Conversations Matter program.”
“In October we will also bring mental health partners from across Australia, including beyondblue, Lifeline, the Young and Well CRC, to Newcastle as part of the DiG Festival where we will be running a specific stream on technology, innovation and mental health.
In accepting her nomination, Jaelea said she was both excited and humbled noting how important it was to see work in mental health and suicide prevention recognised in national awards like this.
“There would be no person living in Australia who has been untouched by mental illness or suicide. I am privileged to be able to work in mental health and suicide prevention and am pleased to see contributions in this area recognised alongside business and other achievements,” Jaelea said.
“Locally and nationally we must have a vision that includes less people developing mental illness and less people experiencing the psychological pain that may lead them to consider taking their own lives.”
Now in its third year, the 100 Women of Influence Awards celebrate outstanding women from a wide variety of sectors across Australia. Entrants into the awards were assessed by a panel of esteemed judges and have been recognised based on their outstanding ability to demonstrate vision, leadership, innovation and action in and beyond their fields.
Gail Kelly, Westpac Group Chief Executive Officer says the breadth and calibre of the 100 Women of Influence for 2014 is remarkable.
“It is such a privilege to be able to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions these women are making to Australia. We are blessed to have such great numbers of influential women doing incredible things in many industries and organisations right across our country.”