Heather Casey, Southern District Health Board (DHB) director of nursing mental health, addictions and intellectual disability has been recognised at the 2019 Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand for service to mental health.
Heather won the award in the exceptional contribution category, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to mental health service delivery.
'It is wonderful to see Heather recognised in this way and it is well deserved,' said Dr Clive Bensemann, clinical lead of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s mental health and addiction quality improvement programme.
The award was announced on 29 August at the annual Mental Health Services Conference held in Brisbane, Queensland, and presented by the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health.
Heather, who has worked for the Southern DHB for over 20 years has played a significant leadership role in mental health nursing, incorporating clinical service input to local and national policy, as well as research and teaching. She has been instrumental in developing the role of mental health nurse practitioner, and mentoring and supporting nurses with leadership potential.
She has championed the need for, and piloting of a primary care nursing-focused mental health and addiction credential programme. This has led to a programme that eight years on, is doubling in size year on year, and currently has nearly 300 credentialed primary care nurses engaged in mental health and addictions best practice delivery.
Heather also holds a significant number of professional roles including as a member of the Commission’s MHA quality improvement programme leadership group, supporting the programme at local, regional and national levels.
'The award was a wonderful surprise and I am honoured to receive it,' says Heather Casey.
'All the work I do with the nursing and mental health sector is always interesting and challenging. Contributing to the health of the community or to my profession is hugely rewarding and to have this acknowledged is humbling.'
The Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand are presented every year by The Mental Health Services Learning Network to recognise and encourage best practice, excellence and innovation in mental health service delivery. The awards have been presented annually since 1992.