Claire Spencer AM nominated for the Australian Mental Health Prize


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The Australian Mental Health Prize shines a light on the selfless work of individuals making a difference in the area of mental health.

Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer AM and the Arts Wellbeing Collective is among seven finalists selected for the 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize.

The Prize, now in its fifth year, recognises Australians who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

Shortlisted largely based on her leadership, guidance and support for the Arts Wellbeing Collective, Spencer said it is an honour to be nominated.

‘This nomination is a reflection of the work of many passionate and committed people at Arts Centre Melbourne and our partners, who are fierce champions for positive change,’ Spencer said.

‘With COVID-19 placing mental health firmly in the spotlight we must use this focus to all work together to towards positive mental health and wellbeing.

‘The issue is complex but I believe that it is the responsibility of every leader not only to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of their teams, but also to interrogate the systems, structures, and cultures of their organisations so we can create environments where people can do their best work.’

The nomination is the result of the hard work displayed by the entire Arts Wellbeing Collective team, who has played a fundamental role in the provision of a positive mental health and wellbeing support system in the arts industry.

Ita Buttrose, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group, said The Prize showcases world-class contributions that have enhanced mental health in Australia.

‘Each finalist announced today has worked selflessly to improve the lives of those experiencing difficulties with mental health,’ Buttrose said.

The breadth of this year’s finalists demonstrates the diverse and deeply compassionate work being undertaken in many challenging areas: improving the care of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system, promoting positive mental health in the performing arts industry, helping bring forward empathetic policy directions that support people experiencing mental distress, enhancing child and adolescent mental health, supporting the Aboriginal medical workforce and advancing Indigenous health and mental health.

Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty, from UNSW Medicine’s School of Psychiatry said it is important to recognise the outstanding efforts after such a difficult year.

‘In this especially challenging year, we as a community are even more mindful that mental illness can affect any one of us,’ Brodaty said.

‘The finalists announced today have helped our society by their efforts, creativity and dedication to achieving better mental health in Australia.’

‘It is wonderful to see so much progress being made in this area.’

This year’s winner will be announced by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), at a ceremony at UNSW Sydney on 5 November 2020.

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