Meet the Team

A/Prof Bridget Hamilton

Bridget Hamilton HeadshotA/Prof Bridget Hamilton is the Director of the CentreMHN, leading the team of clinical nurse academics and consumer academics. Bridget is a registered mental health nurse with a 30 plus year career working as a clinician, manager, educator and researcher in public sector services. Since completing her PhD in 2008 she has undertaken scholarly leadership roles, including coordinating the mental health postgraduate specialist program and coordinating research higher degrees in the Department of Nursing. She has supervised the completion of nine cross disciplinary PhDs, including several nominated for the Chancellors Award.
Bridget highly values partnering with consumers in everyday work, research and teaching. She currently teaches solutions focused and narrative interventions for postgraduates; her health services research program spans ethnographic fieldwork in healthcare settings, knowledge transfer for seclusion reduction, evaluations of recovery orientation, narratives of strengths approaches.
Bridget is highly regarded for her practical actions in support of consumer perspective, so that she won the VMIAC Ally Award in 2018 for her ‘allyship’ to the Victorian consumer workforce. She co-leads an interdisciplinary Mental Health and Society program of work at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

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Megan Porter
Programs, Events and Communications Officer

Megan Porter joined the CentreMHN team in January 2019, coordinating engagement opportunities, Megan Porter headshotevents and workshops. Megan communicates and promotes the CentreMHN through social media, website and other digital/non-digital channels. Major projects Megan has worked on are the Victorian Collaborative Mental Health Nursing Conference, 4/5 Forums and ACN Nursing Expo. In 2019 Megan travelled with the Consumer Academic Program team to Wellington, New Zealand to promote Centre MHN at the SUAS Conference.

Q&A with Megan Porter

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Roshani Prematunga
Research Assistant

Roshani Prematunga headshotRoshani Prematunga has been a Research Assistant at the CentreMHN since June 2009. She has skills and experience working in New Zealand with the University of Auckland and government research organisations.
As a core part of the research team at the CentreMHN, Roshani has been involved in numerous research projects and her background in Public Health statistics and economic analysis brings valuable research skills to the CentreMHN.
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Teresa Kelly
Nurse Academic

Teresa Kelly headshotTeresa Kelly is a  mental health nurse who holds academic qualifications in Gestalt therapy and Health Information Management and commenced at the CentreMHN in October 2017.
Teresa values the contribution of multiple perspectives to achieving in- depth contextual
understandings of complex health problems. Teresa is part of the team at the CentreMHN and is a PhD candidate with the Department of Nursing at The University of Melbourne. Teresa’s PhD thesis, Heartscapes: A new narrative for understanding the complex interplay of mental illness and cardiovascular health, is nearing completion and translation of the research findings into policy in Victoria is already underway.

Teresa’s PhD research project was supported by a 2014 NHMRC/ National Heart Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship.

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Cathie Miller
Nurse Academic

Cathie Miller headshotCathie is a mental health nurse who has worked for the past 14+ years in a variety of clinical service settings within the ACT and Victoria. More recently she has moved to an education role where she is proud to support the development of current and new generations of mental health nurses. Her work with the CMHN is complementary to her CNE role, in working to co-establish education packages for Victorian graduate mental health nurses. She is passionate about LGBTIQ+ rights and awareness, inclusive practice, and most importantly about trauma informed care. Her research interests are broadly around recovery and healing from trauma, post-traumatic growth, resilience, working towards a salutagenic approach to trauma.

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Cath Roper
Senior Consumer Academic

Cath Roper headshotCath Roper has held the pioneering role of consumer academic at the CentreMHN since 2000. Using perspectives arising from lived experience of mental health services, Cath develops and co-delivers training across specialist mental health service setting, and co-ordinates, teaches, assesses a core consumer perspective subject in the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing, Mental Health. Cath has an international profile as a speaker and scholar. Her research interests include the development of consumer perspective as a discipline, and consumer decision-making, human rights and ethics in the context of mental health legislation. Cath has been engaged in policy development, and built up strong, collegial and co-productive relationships. Cath is currently engaged as a consultant throughout the life of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system (2019/2020) to provide consumer perspective advice.

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Consumer Academic Program

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Vrinda Edan
Consumer Academic / PhD Candidate

Vrinda Edan Headshot

Vrinda has been working for over 20 years in the consumer field and worked as a Consumer Academic at CMHN for 10 years.  She has a background as a health professional, and her work is shaped by her personal and professional experiences working in strategic leadership positions in health services, and large research projects.

PhD Title: What are the experiences of adult consumers in Victorian mental health services who have an advance statement and are admitted to an inpatient unit compulsorily?
This study firstly explores consumer and supporter experiences of using advanced statements. Study two uses scenarios developed by the participants to elicit the views and experiences of mental health staff. The data will be examined utilising a critical feminist approach, Standpoint Theory to establish how advanced statements work to support consumers’ decisions.
Vrinda’s PhD project is supported by a Melbourne Social Equity Institute PhD scholarship.
Vrinda’s PhD project is supported by a Melbourne Social Equity Institute PhD scholarship.
Principal Supervisor: A/Prof Bridget Hamilton
Co-Supervisors: Prof Lisa Brophy and Prof Bernadette McSherry, The University of Melbourne

Consumer Academic Program

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Indigo Daya
Consumer Academic

Indigo Daya headshotIndigo Daya is a Consumer Academic at the CentreMHN, and an Honorary Fellow at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute. Indigo has lived experience as a survivor of childhood trauma, madness and coercive mental health services. She is an experienced and highly engaging workforce trainer and policy advisor in the public clinical and not-for profit mental health sector. Her teaching and research interests include Mad Studies, consumer/ survivor perspectives in mental health contexts, human rights and reframing ‘mental illness’ as a meaningful response to trauma. She is undertaking research into perspectives of dangerousness in mental health, with the support of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

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Hamilton Kennedy
Consumer Academic

Hamilton Kennedy is a Consumer Academic at the CentreMHN. They have a lived experience of madness and psychiatric hospitalisation which informs their work. This work centres on safety and Hamilton Kennedy headshotimproving the experience of mental health consumers in services. Hamilton leads the consumer component of Safewards evaluation. They are also interested in the development of Mad Studies and narrative therapy.

Hamilton is a writer and speaker with one main goal: to make mental health services better now.

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Q&A with Hamilton Kennedy
Consumer Academic Program

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Wanda Bennetts
Consumer Academic

Wanda has a background in education and a lived experience of mental health services.
Wanda Bennets profileWanda's worked in a variety of consumer perspective roles since 2000, mostly at a systemic level.The roles have included Consumer Consultant, consumer researcher, educator, senior advisor, freelance worker and Senior Policy Advisor - consumer portfolio holder at DHHS.Wanda is passionate about:

  • Wanting to positively influence services and mental health systems for users of these services.
  • Consumer perspective education & training for clinicians, other staff, professionals and consumers
  • Advance Directives (as opposed to the watered-down version of Advance Statements)
  • Progressing and supporting the consumer workforce – With support from others, I completed a project about the consumer workforce in Victoria called ‘Real Lives, Real Jobs’.

Helena Roennfeldt
Consumer Academic / PhD Candidate

Helena RoennfeldtPhD Title: All roads lead to ED: An analysis of the discourses surrounding responses to mental health crises
Helena’s PhD explores underlying discourses that shape service responses to mental health crises and uncover discourses that support more effective emergency mental health care.
Helena’s PhD is supported by a Melbourne Social Equity institute PhD Scholarship
Principal Supervisor: A/Prof Bridget Hamilton
Co-Supervisors: Dr Nicole Hill, The University of Melbourne, Dr Louise Byrne, RMIT University

Q&A with Helena
Consumer Academic Program
Life as a graduate researcher: Helena Roennfeldt

Rachel Tindall
PhD Candidate

Title: Experiences of engagement with early intervention services for first episode psychosis: A longitudinal, qualitative study
Rachel’s PhD seeks to understand the experiences of engaging and disengaging with early intervention services for first episode psychosis, from the perspectives of the key people involved in the process, using qualitative metasynthesis and longitudinal, qualitative interview methods.
Rachel’s PhD project is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, a HOSPIRA grant and The Windermere Foundation Doctoral Scholarship in Health Program.
Principal Supervisor: A/Prof Bridget Hamilton
Co-Supervisors: A/Prof Kelly Allott and Dr Magenta Simmons, The University of Melbourne