Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Australia’s first Indigenous doctor Helen Milroy and Western Australia’s former chief justice Wayne Martin have joined the board of The University of Western Australia’s suicide research initiative Young Lives Matter Foundation.

Young Lives Matter aims to create a treatment approach that will be adaptable across a range of risk profiles and work to diminish overall suicide rates in Australia. Through ground-breaking research at UWA, the Foundation is on track to create a world-first template to deliver targeted treatment and early intervention based on an individual’s risk profile across a range of developmental factors.

Professor Helen Milroy, from UWA’s Centre for Aboriginal and Dental Health, is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region who studied medicine at UWA and worked as a GP and consultant in childhood sexual abuse at Princess Margaret Hospital for children for several years before completing specialist training in child and adolescent psychiatry.

The AFL’s first Indigenous commissioner, Professor Milroy is a commissioner with the Federal Government’s National Mental Health Commission and served as a commissioner with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Her work and research interests include holistic medicine, child mental health, recovery from trauma and grief, application of Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous health curriculum development, implementation and evaluation, Aboriginal health and mental health and developing and supporting the Aboriginal medical workforce.

Mr Martin was appointed WA’s 13th Chief Justice on 1 May 2006 and retired in July last year. After graduating from UWA’s Law School he was admitted to legal practice in WA in 1977.  In 1984 he became senior litigation partner with Keall Brinsden in Perth and in 1988 joined the Independent Bar.

In 1993 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel.  From 1996 to 2002 he was a member of the Law Reform Commission and from 1997 to 2001 served as its chairman.  From 2001 to 2003, he took on the role of counsel assisting the HIH Royal Commission in Sydney.

Mr Martin is also the Lieutenant Governor of Western Australia and was appointed inaugural chair of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity in 2013 and served in that capacity until 2017. Mr Martin is currently chair of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and Parkerville Children and Youth Care.

Young Lives Matter Foundation chairman Ronald Woss said Professor Milroy and Mr Martin would bring a wealth of expertise to the Young Lives Matter Board of Trustees.

“The addition of these two outstanding individuals to the Board of YLM adds even further skills to assist our researchers in achieving their goals in early suicide intervention, rather than prevention modelling which has not been successful in addressing the problem to date,” Mr Woss said.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater, who is also a mental health professional and on the Lifeline WA Board, praised the ambition of the Young Lives Matter Foundation’s research.

“We have a real opportunity here to combine UWA’s research excellence with cutting-edge data analytics to save the lives of young Western Australians,” Professor Freshwater said.

If you are experiencing an emergency crisis or you need urgent support please contact the following 24-hour services: Life-threatening emergencies 000, Lifeline 13 11 14, Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800, or Mental Health Emergency Services 1300 555 788.

Media references

Simone Hewett (UWA Media & PR Adviser)                                                               08 6488 7975


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