Meet the NSPO team

Thanks for your interest in our team. We are honoured to be a small part of a large suicide prevention sector with thousands of colleagues all working to offer hope and save lives. Please find below a little bit about each of us and where our passion for this work lies. If you'd like to get in touch with any of us, please email: nspo@mentalhealthcommission.gov.au

We look forward to working with you.


Dr Alex Hains

Head of the National Suicide Prevention Office

Alex currently works as acting Head of the National Suicide Prevention Office, helping the team to produce Australia’s first National Suicide Prevention Strategy. Previously, his work has focused on children and young people, the unique wellbeing needs of priority populations, the pervasive impacts of complex trauma, and embedding lived experience into the mental health and suicide prevention systems. Alex led the establishment of one of the most successful regional Suicide Prevention Collaboratives in Australia, with over 40 member organisations and community groups.


GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL POLICY

James Burchmore CSM

Assistant Director Governance and Social Policy team

James Burchmore CSM is an Assistant Director in the National Suicide Prevention Office, focusing on the data and translation work for the Office and the engagement with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on the National Suicide and Self-harm Monitoring System. His goal is to see a collaborative approach towards shared suicide data across governments to provide evidence for reform and evaluation, and timely information for policy and service responses. Prior to this James has worked over 20 years in suicide prevention in the Australian Defence Force, Department of Defence, and the National Mental Health Commission. He was also seconded to the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce that delivered the National Suicide Prevention Advisor’s Final Advice.

Clare Barrett

Assistant Director Governance and Social Policy team

Clare joined the Governance and Social Policy team in the National Suicide Prevention Office in October 2023. Prior to joining the NSPO, Clare worked across a range of Commonwealth government portfolios including women’s safety, Indigenous affairs, housing and homelessness, innovation policy and digital economy. Clare has qualifications in law and social inquiry, and is focusing on the development of Australia’s first National Suicide Prevention Strategy and Outcomes Framework.


SERVICE SYSTEM POLICY

Michael Cook

Director of Service System Policy

Michael leads the Service System Policy team, which develops advice and solutions to enhance service systems and the diverse workforces that they depend upon. Michael has worked in dedicated suicide prevention roles for 7 years, including as implementation lead at Black Dog Institute for the LifeSpan integrated framework for suicide prevention, and Towards Zero Suicides lead for Sydney Local Health District. He also draws on experience as a psychologist working in correctional and alcohol and other drug settings, as well as private sector project management and systems design. Michael is passionate about using systems and policy levers to dramatically shift approaches to suicide prevention in Australia, aiming to improve our ability to better combat the diverse drivers of distress through policy and service response mechanisms that prevent people from entering suicidal crisis.

Tegan Cotterill

Assistant Director Service Systems Policy

As part of the Service Systems Policy Team, Tegan contributes to developing guidance to enhance service systems and enable workforces to respond compassionately to people in distress. Prior to joining the NSPO Tegan worked for the National Mental Health Commission, on the NSW Health Towards Zero Suicides initiatives and as a coordinator for the LifeSpan Newcastle research trial. Tegan is an experienced social worker with subject matter expertise in suicide prevention developed through working in senior clinical, project and policy roles on local, state, and national initiatives. Tegan is passionate about suicide prevention and working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders including people with a lived experience of suicide to influence government priorities to achieve suicide prevention reform with an emphasis on improving outcomes for populations that are disproportionately impacted by suicide.

Bill Howarth

Senior Policy Officer, Service Systems Policy

Bill joined the NSPO in October 2022 as a part of the Service Systems Policy Team and through his lived experience of suicide and mental-ill health, he is passionate in developing policy that will make a difference to lives of Australians. Prior to joining the NSPO, Bill worked for Services Australia where he was involved primarily in Parliamentary, Ministerial, and Cabinet roles and brings a wealth of APS experience to the NSPO. Bill completed a Master of Public Policy at the University of Tasmania, and his thesis topic was regarding wicked problem policy issues, and if they could be better addressed. He also completed a Graduate Diploma of Public Policy, and Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in Public Policy and Political Science.


PARTNERSHIPS AND ENGAGEMENT

Ina Mullin

Director, Partnerships and Engagement

Ina leads the relationship development and communication functions of the Office. She is committed to ensuring the voice of lived experience is central to the development of recommendations for reform. Ina moved to the Office after serving as Director, Communication and Engagement at the National Mental Health Commission. Her career and voluntary work has been grounded in the not-for-profit sector working in a number of services that support the mental health and wellbeing of people who are impacted by a broad range of social determinants. Most recently, she served as National Manager Communications and Public Affairs at Lifeline Australia. Ina was recently appointed Deputy Chair of the Board of GROW Australia, a national service providing intentional peer support for people living with mental health challenges.

Crystal Paniccia

Senior Partnerships and Engagement Officer

Crystal joined the NSPO as the acting Senior Partnerships and Engagement Officer. She has previously worked in a diversity of purpose-driven stakeholder engagement and community partnership roles and contexts across the government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Areas include child safety, ecological sustainability, and First Nations post-determination Native Title. Crystal also brings experience in suicide prevention reform working for a dedicated lived experience organisation, leading several large-scale consultation and co-design processes designed to centre lived experience insights and expertise. Crystal is passionate about supporting cross-sector collaborative approaches to improving systemic responses to suicide.

To get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Office team, please email: nspo@mentalhealthcommission.gov.au

Thanks for your interest in our team. We are honoured to be a small part of a large suicide prevention sector with thousands of colleagues all working to offer hope and save lives. Please find below a little bit about each of us and where our passion for this work lies. If you'd like to get in touch with any of us, please email: nspo@mentalhealthcommission.gov.au

We look forward to working with you.


Dr Alex Hains

Head of the National Suicide Prevention Office

Alex currently works as acting Head of the National Suicide Prevention Office, helping the team to produce Australia’s first National Suicide Prevention Strategy. Previously, his work has focused on children and young people, the unique wellbeing needs of priority populations, the pervasive impacts of complex trauma, and embedding lived experience into the mental health and suicide prevention systems. Alex led the establishment of one of the most successful regional Suicide Prevention Collaboratives in Australia, with over 40 member organisations and community groups.


GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL POLICY

James Burchmore CSM

Assistant Director Governance and Social Policy team

James Burchmore CSM is an Assistant Director in the National Suicide Prevention Office, focusing on the data and translation work for the Office and the engagement with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on the National Suicide and Self-harm Monitoring System. His goal is to see a collaborative approach towards shared suicide data across governments to provide evidence for reform and evaluation, and timely information for policy and service responses. Prior to this James has worked over 20 years in suicide prevention in the Australian Defence Force, Department of Defence, and the National Mental Health Commission. He was also seconded to the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce that delivered the National Suicide Prevention Advisor’s Final Advice.

Clare Barrett

Assistant Director Governance and Social Policy team

Clare joined the Governance and Social Policy team in the National Suicide Prevention Office in October 2023. Prior to joining the NSPO, Clare worked across a range of Commonwealth government portfolios including women’s safety, Indigenous affairs, housing and homelessness, innovation policy and digital economy. Clare has qualifications in law and social inquiry, and is focusing on the development of Australia’s first National Suicide Prevention Strategy and Outcomes Framework.


SERVICE SYSTEM POLICY

Michael Cook

Director of Service System Policy

Michael leads the Service System Policy team, which develops advice and solutions to enhance service systems and the diverse workforces that they depend upon. Michael has worked in dedicated suicide prevention roles for 7 years, including as implementation lead at Black Dog Institute for the LifeSpan integrated framework for suicide prevention, and Towards Zero Suicides lead for Sydney Local Health District. He also draws on experience as a psychologist working in correctional and alcohol and other drug settings, as well as private sector project management and systems design. Michael is passionate about using systems and policy levers to dramatically shift approaches to suicide prevention in Australia, aiming to improve our ability to better combat the diverse drivers of distress through policy and service response mechanisms that prevent people from entering suicidal crisis.

Tegan Cotterill

Assistant Director Service Systems Policy

As part of the Service Systems Policy Team, Tegan contributes to developing guidance to enhance service systems and enable workforces to respond compassionately to people in distress. Prior to joining the NSPO Tegan worked for the National Mental Health Commission, on the NSW Health Towards Zero Suicides initiatives and as a coordinator for the LifeSpan Newcastle research trial. Tegan is an experienced social worker with subject matter expertise in suicide prevention developed through working in senior clinical, project and policy roles on local, state, and national initiatives. Tegan is passionate about suicide prevention and working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders including people with a lived experience of suicide to influence government priorities to achieve suicide prevention reform with an emphasis on improving outcomes for populations that are disproportionately impacted by suicide.

Bill Howarth

Senior Policy Officer, Service Systems Policy

Bill joined the NSPO in October 2022 as a part of the Service Systems Policy Team and through his lived experience of suicide and mental-ill health, he is passionate in developing policy that will make a difference to lives of Australians. Prior to joining the NSPO, Bill worked for Services Australia where he was involved primarily in Parliamentary, Ministerial, and Cabinet roles and brings a wealth of APS experience to the NSPO. Bill completed a Master of Public Policy at the University of Tasmania, and his thesis topic was regarding wicked problem policy issues, and if they could be better addressed. He also completed a Graduate Diploma of Public Policy, and Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in Public Policy and Political Science.


PARTNERSHIPS AND ENGAGEMENT

Ina Mullin

Director, Partnerships and Engagement

Ina leads the relationship development and communication functions of the Office. She is committed to ensuring the voice of lived experience is central to the development of recommendations for reform. Ina moved to the Office after serving as Director, Communication and Engagement at the National Mental Health Commission. Her career and voluntary work has been grounded in the not-for-profit sector working in a number of services that support the mental health and wellbeing of people who are impacted by a broad range of social determinants. Most recently, she served as National Manager Communications and Public Affairs at Lifeline Australia. Ina was recently appointed Deputy Chair of the Board of GROW Australia, a national service providing intentional peer support for people living with mental health challenges.

Crystal Paniccia

Senior Partnerships and Engagement Officer

Crystal joined the NSPO as the acting Senior Partnerships and Engagement Officer. She has previously worked in a diversity of purpose-driven stakeholder engagement and community partnership roles and contexts across the government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Areas include child safety, ecological sustainability, and First Nations post-determination Native Title. Crystal also brings experience in suicide prevention reform working for a dedicated lived experience organisation, leading several large-scale consultation and co-design processes designed to centre lived experience insights and expertise. Crystal is passionate about supporting cross-sector collaborative approaches to improving systemic responses to suicide.

To get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Office team, please email: nspo@mentalhealthcommission.gov.au

Page last updated: 05 Jan 2024, 04:46 PM