Department of Health

Mary O’Hagan appointed to key lived experience leadership reform role

Mary O'Hagan

The Victorian Government has appointed Mary O’Hagan as its first Executive Director of Lived Experience.

Ms O'Hagan is an internationally recognised lived experience executive and advocate. She has worked in a series of leadership roles and is a former Mental Health Commissioner of New Zealand.

As a young woman, Ms O’Hagan used New Zealand’s mental health services for eight years. She said these experiences had a profound impact on her.

She has worked for more than 35 years to make a difference to the way society and services respond to people with major mental distress.

Ms O’Hagan was an initiator of the mental health service user movement in New Zealand in the late 1980s. She has worked as a mental health adviser to the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Ms O'Hagan will start her new role in the leadership team in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Division of the Department of Health in December.   

The appointment delivers on a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to employ people with lived experience in leadership positions within the Department.

The new role will work to ensure that mental health and alcohol and other drug services meet the needs of consumers and carers by integrating their expertise in the development of policies and programs.

Ms O’Hagan said, “I see so much hope for mental health reform here in Victoria. It won’t be easy, but there’s never been a more important time for people with lived experience – consumers, carers, families and supporters - to take on leadership roles to bring real changes to the new system and new services.” 

Reviewed 03 March 2022


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