About Us

Our Objectives

The Network is an incorporated association established under the Victorian Associations Incorporation Act 1981. Its objectives are:

  • To provide information about the prevention and management of women’s mental health issues to health professionals, service providers, carers, consumers and the public;
  • To promote research into women’s mental health issues;
  • To promote opportunities for training and education in women’s mental health issues and women-sensitive practice;
  • To develop partnerships with key mental health and women’s organisations to create opportunities for women consumers, carers and service providers to work together in addressing mental health issues, and to share their experiences and information;
  • To promote systemic change in order to make mental health policies and services more responsive to women’s needs.

History

In 1988, a small group of concerned women identified crucial gaps in the Victoria’s mental health services available to women. They found services were often unsafe with little attention paid to the particular needs of female consumers. These early advocates for change included consumers, carers, mental health workers and interested community members. The Network was born of their commitment.

The Network has now grown to become an influential voice in the mental health care of women. We have done this by bringing together a diverse network of interested women and organisations. We are an organisation that is entirely run by volunteers and rely on donations and community support.

The Committee of Management are a dedicated team of volunteers who provide governance for the organisation and ensure that the work we do is informed by our members and is in accordance with our objectives. The Committee of Management establishes Working Groups and Sub-Committees as required and members may be co-opted to join the groups to provide special knowledge or skills.


Committee of Management

Amanda is currently Manager Strategy at Djirra; an Aboriginal family violence prevention legal service. Also currently serving on two national boards: Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL). Previous experience includes serving on the National Asthma Foundation Board and was President of Asthma Foundation ACT and Board Member Global Sisters (project to create financial independence for refugee women). Has over 15 years experience in working in and with the community and non-government sector, primarily in the areas of mental health and disability. Was CEO for Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, College of Mental Health Nurses; National Policy Manager, Palliative Care Australia; and worked as a consultant in mental health, disability and vulnerable population groups.
Anita Savic is a registered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist and a Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), including a Member of both the APS College of Clinical Psychology and the APS College of Counselling Psychology. Anita also serves on the Committee of the APS Military and Emergency Services and Psychology Interest Group. With over 15 years’ experience working as a psychologist, manager and leader in complex mental health, including expertise in the area of trauma and post-traumatic mental health, Anita is currently positioned at Phoenix Australia - Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health as a Senior Clinical Specialist and second in command to the High Risk Portfolio. Anita also has extensive experience working at Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria as a psychologist.
Marilia is a registered psychologist with ten years of international experience in the mental health and social services sectors. Previously working at the Dubai Autism Center screening proposals for research collaboration and community engagement initiatives. Has also had direct experience fundraising including in a previous role at COOJ Trust and planning events and liaising with organizations’ as part of Corporate Social Responsibility. Has experience working in the private psychiatric field and public mental health as well as support to the Education team at Phoenix, Centre for Post Traumatic Mental Health where she also worked on a research project on consumer satisfaction with services provided by the organization.
Louise Roberts is a professional Fellow of CPA Australia; a recognised expert in accounting and finance. Louise also holds an eMBA and has had a successful career as a senior finance executive with over 15 years experience leading teams. Louise is the Director and Company Secretary of START Foundation who provide grants for amputees to participate in their chosen sport. Previous roles include General Manager of Finance and Control at TransDev Australasia and General Manager of BAE Systems Australia.
Dr Sonja Skocic is a Senior Clinical Psychologist who has held leadership roles across private psychiatric and public hospital based mental health services as well as Not for Profit community based organisations. Sonja is an experienced Director, previously serving on several Not For Profit Boards in the area of family violence, mental health and professional associations and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Sonja's vast clinical and management experience provides guidance on best practice in clinical care, education and training as well as strategic planning and governance. Sonja's work focuses on the mental health of women and girls and currently serves as Chair of the Committee of Management for Women's Mental Health Network Victoria as well as being the Founder and Director of Melbourne Centre for Women’s Mental Health.
Joanne has been a Network member since 2012. Joanne has a background in Community Development and Peer Support. An experienced consumer consultant and peer support worker, Joanne has held positions at Northern Hospital in Epping, Thomas Embling Hospital and the Northern Area Mental Health Service. Joanne is now a Peer Support Worker at Glady and Co. Mental Health Service, NDIS provider in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. the NDIA hub Gladys & Co. She brings us a depth of experience as a peer support worker; contributing to the grassroots level of peer support group initiatives as well as related govt. committees. Joanne attributes being involved in this peer support work as a key part of her recovery, pivotal in her journey to healing. Joanne aims to bring this particular peer support lens to all her roles.
Jess has a Masters degree in Advanced Nursing Practice (Mental Health) and is the Unit Manager of the Acute Women's Unit at Forensicare. Serving the Women's Mental Health Network Victoria on the Committee of Management for her second year.
Kate is a Women's Specialist Social Worker at Thomas Embling Hospital (Forensicare) and also works in Family Healthcare Support for the Complex Care Program (Royal Children's Hospital). Kate is qualified in Social Work, Criminology and Forensic Behavioural Science. She first developed a passion for reducing social inequalities and tackling women's rights issues when volunteering abroad in India (2015) and Kenya (2017). Kate is an active advocate for women in the criminal justice system and aims to support and empower criminalised women to increase positive outcomes. Kate also has a background in working in Youth Work and Disability Support.
Carol is a PhD candidate in the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne. Her current research focuses on gender sensitive care, mental illness and sexual violence. She is a Registered Psychologist with a Masters in Clinical Psychology. Carol has a background in researching and working in Mental Health, Disability, Youth and Positive Behaviour Support. She currently sits on the Sexual Safety Committee as the Networks’ representative.