Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation’s Executive Director John Mannion has today been announced as a new Mental Health Commissioner for South Australia.

John led the establishment of Breakthrough in 2018 which this year alone funded more than 20 leading research projects across all the state’s universities. These included projects in the areas of youth mental health, depression, indigenous mental health and eating disorders.

The role will be in addition to his commitment as Executive Director for Breakthrough.

“I am humbled and excited by this incredible opportunity to work across the two roles where there is a clear alignment of driving the best outcomes for the mental health strategy across the state,” John said.

“It will further drive Breakthrough’s continued vision of helping create a life free of mental illness by focusing upon research to inform clinical improvements, enhanced outcomes and community connectivity.”

Breakthrough Founder and Co-Chair, Alan Young AM, said he was delighted with John’s appointment to the position which he believed “would make a real difference to mental health outcomes in South Australia”.

“Mental health is a lifelong issue and the earlier we are able to intervene the more impact we can make.”

Breakthrough Co-Chair Professor Steve Wesselingh said the appointment was “wonderful recognition of the work Breakthrough continues to drive in the field and its focus on changing the mental health landscape”.

John replaces former Mental Health Commissioner Sharon Lawn who stepped down and joins fellow commissioners Heather Nowack and David Kelly.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said John’s expertise in community mental health, clinical experience and “leadership in evidence-led mental health transformations” made his appointment a significant one for the state.

The role of the Mental Health Commissioners is to work with the community on a strong focus on early intervention and prevention as well as building resilience and mental wellbeing. This includes continuing to facilitate partnerships across all levels of government and community.

John has more than 30 years’ experience in the mental health arena including as a registered Mental Health Nurse, having worked in acute and community mental health services in the United Kingdom and Australia, including the Executive Director Role of the Mental Health Services within the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

John will commence the new role on 1 July.