The Western Australian government has appointed Dr Sophie Davison as its first chief medical officer for mental health.
Mental health minister Roger Cook on Tuesday said the new position was created within the Mental Health Commission to help strengthen its leadership role in the sector.
“Our mental health system is under immense pressure and with the uncertainty of the pandemic continuing, having a strong and collaborative sector will continue to be critically important,” he said.
“Dr Davison will work to further strengthen integration and collaboration at the highest levels, working closely with the service providers and other agencies who deliver services to our community.”
As the state’s current deputy chief psychiatrist, Davison has been leading the clinical mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic within the Department of Health for the past four months.
Her new role would involve providing clinical expertise to strategic planning and policy development, as well as strengthening consumer and community focused clinical care, and liaising with non-government services to support system integration across WA’s public mental health, alcohol and other drug services.
Davison would also play a key role in a new Mental Health Executive Committee, that would unite chief executives and clinical leadership from across the Health Service Providers and the health department.
The Mental Health Commission is currently in the process of considering expressions of interest for the key positions of consumer representative and carer/family representative for the committee and the Community Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Council.
The committee will focus on improving partnerships, including with the community sector, and strengthen consumer focused care, to ensure lived experience is central to policy development and service delivery.
Davison has been appointed to the position on an acting basis for the next six months and will report directly to the Mental Health Commissioner.
Cook congratulated Davison on the appointment.
“Now, more than ever, we must listen to those who have firsthand experience with the mental health system. Dr Davison will work closely with consumer and carer/family representatives to help ensure our health system can grow to meet the needs of the community,” he said.