Flourish Australia CEO Pamela Rutledge has been honoured at the 2017 Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand, in recognition of her 40 year career in the mental health and social service sectors.
Pamela is the winner of the ‘Exceptional Contribution’ award, with the judges taken by her longterm drive for innovation and reform, leading to better wellbeing for people who live with disadvantages and disabilities.
A social worker by profession, Pamela first came to prominence when appointed as Executive Officer of the Richmond Inquiry in 1982.
She has enjoyed a distinguished career across both the government and not-for-profit sectors.
In 2012 Pamela oversaw the merger of two large community-managed mental health organisations (Richmond Fellowship of NSW and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Australia) which is now one of Australia’s foremost community mental health support providers – Flourish Australia.
Pamela is Chair of the NSW Mental Health Co-ordinating Council and a part-time Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
Flourish Australia was also honoured with the Mental Health Consumer and Mental Health Peer Work Award. This recognises the ground-breaking efforts to create a mentally-healthy and inclusive workplace for people with a mental health issue and the employment of peer-workers – people with a lived experience of a mental health issue who draw on their own experience to support others.
Recognising that peer-workers are often best placed to help others on their mental health recovery journey, peer workers now occupy one third of front-line positions at Flourish Australia. Further, half of all Flourish Australia employees identify as having a lived experience of a mental health issue.
This goes a long way to reducing stigma when it comes to employing people with a lived experience and demonstrates to employers across Australia that people with mental health issues are usually more than capable of making valued contributions in workplaces.
The Mental Health Consumer and Mental Health Peer Work Award was received by Flourish Australia Inclusion Manager and prominent mental health advocate, Fay Jackson. Fay led the charge to promote peer-work within Flourish Australia, and continues to campaign for employment opportunities for people with a lived experience across Australia.
“The exceptional contribution award is a fitting testimony to Pamela’s extraordinary achievements over so many years,” Flourish Australia Chair Professor Elizabeth More AM said.
“Pamela has been at the forefront of social service and mental health delivery and reform for forty years.
“She has been part of many milestones that have resulted in better lives for and understanding of people who live with disadvantage and disability.
“People across the mental health and social service sectors look to Pam as an outstanding innovator and reformer”.
Professor More also congratulated Fay Jackson and everyone else at Flourish Australia who have worked so hard to set new national standards for mental health employment.
“Fay and her Flourish Australia colleagues have made history in seeing so many employment positions created for people with a lived experience,” Professor More said.
“This does so much to show that stigma and misunderstanding should not be used as reasons to deny work opportunities to people with mental health issues.
“Flourish Australia is demonstrating to employers everywhere that people with mental health issues usually end up being outstanding employees.”
The annual Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand were presented in Sydney on Wednesday 30 August. They have been presented since 1992 to recognise and encourage best practice, excellence and innovation in mental health service delivery.
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Flourish Australia is a not-for-profit organisation providing support programs, employment, accommodation and hope for 5,000 people with mental health issues in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a leading mental health support provider that has been in operation for 60 years.