Staff Category: Education and Service Development Consultant

Josie Tremain

Hello, I’m Josie and I’ve worked as an education and service development consultant with VTMH since early 2019. My professional specialities include counselling and community sector management, and I’ve recently completed postgraduate studies in health and human services and now undertaking a Master’s of Social Work through the University of Melbourne.

I previously worked at Neami National for 6.5 years in both practitioner and leadership positions across a variety of mental health programs. Before this, I worked at Social Firms Australia coordinating a psychoeducational program for jobseekers living with mental illness.

I’ve had many opportunities to gain extensive experience in both staff and service development as well as change management through large-scale system reforms and advocacy for both consumers and staff.

In the future, I hope VTMH can continue to expand our online presence in delivering interactive learning opportunities, and I look forward to continuing to assist with this and other important aspects of our work.

Kimberley Wriedt

Hi, I’m Kimberley, I’ve completed studies in occupational therapy and I’ve worked with VTMH since 2011. In that time, I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in a variety of important projects and activities, including service development consultancy, facilitating group consultation processes, project management, publication writing, and training development and facilitation. I began my mental health career in Victoria’s Community Managed Mental Health Services sector, where I worked as a home-based outreach support worker and group program worker with an inner-city psychosocial support service, and later as a team leader for a home-based outreach service in Victoria’s east.

Highlights of my work with VTMH so far include:

Being a:

  • Co-facilitator for the Victorian Cultural Portfolio Holder Program, a program recognised as an innovative workforce initiative by the Department of Health and Human Services in its 2017 Review and Consolidation of Innovative Workforce Models and Activity in the Mental Health Sector.
  • Member of the project team for the Approaching work with interpreters in mental health settings project, which used a co-design process to develop a range of resources to support mental health workers to work more effectively with interpreters.
  • Presenter at the Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Conference on various VTMH programs over the years.

I look forward to seeing VTMH continue to grow and evolve in ways that meet contemporary challenges and opportunities. I hope that VTMH can continue to collaborate with mental health services and systems in bold and creative ways to achieve greater equity in mental health care.

Nadya Kouzma

Hello, I’m Nadya, a psychologist and consultant at VTMH. I’ve worked with VTMH since 2009, hold a PhD in Psychology, and am an Honorary Fellow at the School of Population & Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

I have contributed to several VTMH reports and papers over the years. These have included:

  • Responding to Diversity: An Evaluation of VTMH Programs and Services, 2013–2015.
  • Cultural responsiveness in specialist mental health services: Service development as a component of a capacity building project (VTPU, 2011). 
  • Stolk, Y., Kouzma, N., Chopra, P., Oehm, D. & Minas, H. Cultural competence training in mental health: Evaluation of a 6-module course as a component of service development (VTPU, 2011).
  • Colucci, E., Chopra, P., McDonough, S., Kouzma, N. & Minas, H. (2014). Improving cultural responsiveness in mental health services: Development of a consensus around the role of Cultural Portfolio Holders. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 7(3), 339–355.

I previously worked at the Alfred Hospital in various roles including Education Program Manager, DHS funded Project Manager, and Research Consultant for the public health care system, mental health sector and academia.

I look forward to continuing to contribute to VTMH’s work with organisations and agencies to build their capacity and enhance their cultural responsiveness in mental health service provision, as well as continuing to advocate for Victoria’s culturally diverse communities across the mental health sector.

Radhika Santhanam-Martin

Hello, I’m Radhika and I’m a clinical psychologist working in the field of trauma. I’ve worked with VTMH since 2011.

I have completed a postdoctoral fellowship in transcultural mental health and hold a PhD in developmental neuropsychology, a Master of Philosophy in medical and social psychology, a Master of Arts in clinical psychology, and a graduate degree in philosophy. I have more than three decades of experience in clinical practice in institutions across India, Canada and Australia. I can speak six languages, and am lucky to be able to use four of these in both my therapeutic and community work.

In Australia, I have worked in tertiary hospitals and universities as a clinical consultant and senior lecturer. Over the last two decades, my work, in addition to direct therapeutic practice, has focused on service development and working with clinical and community organisations to improve access and equity in mental health. Before joining VTMH, for example, I worked in Far North Queensland with remote Aboriginal and Islander communities in Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands. I currently work with consumers, communities and service providers across three sectors: refugees and asylum seekers; emerging communities; and vulnerable women/families.

My primary interest areas include:

  • attachment and trauma; narrative methods of practice.
  • intersectional approaches addressing oppression and privilege.
  • ways of working with cultures.
  • enhancing the reflective capacity of practitioners in mental health settings using professional supervision.

I look forward to continuing to work with my VTMH colleagues and with professionals and organisations across the sector to see VTMH become a Centre of Excellence in training and policy work in the area of cultural diversity.

Shehani DeSilva

Hi, I’m Shehani and I’ve worked with VTMH since 2013. I have a background in psychology and community development and more than 20 years of experience working directly with marginalised communities and grassroot community and mental health organisations.

Before joining VTMH, I coordinated the transcultural mental health access program at Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) in Melbourne, working with communities from diverse cultural backgrounds. I also worked in New Zealand with a trauma service for refugees and asylum seekers as a counsellor and advocate and at Schizophrenia Fellowship supporting consumers and carers to access housing in urban Wellington.  I have also had the opportunity to undertake international development work through UNICEF Sri Lanka where I worked as a psychosocial specialist supporting and building the capacity of community organisations funded to work with communities impacted by civil war. I look forward to continuing to play a part in VTMH and its role in building the capacity of the workforce to provide equitable services to the culturally diverse communities of Victoria.

Silvana Izzo

Hi, I’m Silvana and I’ve worked part-time with VTMH since 2012. I am an Occupational Therapist and Somatic Psychotherapist working in both clinical and community settings with people who have experienced developmental and complex trauma. I have worked in public health for thirty years across sectors and programs, including remote aboriginal communities, high-demand environments such as emergency departments and complex psychosocial care contexts. 

At VTMH, I provide workforce development, planning and strategic support across the Victorian specialist mental health system, promoting inclusive, culturally safe and culturally responsive mental health care.

Recent projects I’m proud to have worked on include:

  • Co-producer of Our Voices, a series of digital stories created in collaboration with mental health carers from five diverse communities, exploring beliefs, practices, and the role of faith and spirituality in both care and recovery.
  • Design and development of a web based resource, LGBTIQIntersect, in collaboration with service providers, community elders, faith leaders and same sex attracted, sex and gender diverse people from multicultural, spiritual and faith-based communities.
  • Development of intersectionality and cultural safety resources for the mental health workforce.
  • Collaborating on the development of resources to support culturally safe and inclusive practice across the family violence sector.

I am particularly interested in applying an intersectional lens to public health service delivery models, the implementation of justice and human rights frameworks in mental health care and the integration of human-centred design thinking in project development and delivery.

In the future I hope VTMH can inspire a whole-of-government approach to humane mental health care informed by the social, cultural and political determinates of health, whilst promoting diverse approaches to community-led mental health and wellbeing supports and services.

Sue Drummond

Hi, I’m Sue, and I’ve worked with VTMH as an education and service development consultant since 2017. My professional specialties include social policy, community development — particularly for young people and migrant, refugee and asylum seeker communities — and Gestalt therapy, a specific form of psychotherapy. I am currently completing a master’s degree in counselling and psychotherapy, and hold academic qualifications in teaching and social science (in policy and human services).

I have more than 30 years’ experience working in counselling, case work, policy and community development roles across the community services sector at organisations including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Melbourne City Mission, Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY). I’ve also spent those years working as an educator for diverse groups of practitioners and students and at various universities and TAFEs, including my current work teaching and providing supervision to students in bachelor and postgraduate counselling programs.

I look forward to seeing VTMH continue to collaborate with mental health agencies and practitioners to create culturally safe and inclusive supports for diverse consumers and carers, as well as influence policy and practice across the mental health service system.

Susan McDonough

Hello, I’m Susan. I have worked with VTMH in education and service development since 2009, including two years with a national multicultural mental health project. I have an applied science degree in occupational therapy, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Arts (research) in sociology and anthropology. I am completing a PhD at La Trobe University exploring the practice of bilingual and bicultural workers in mental health settings. 

Before VTMH, I held different clinical, education and service development roles in early psychosis and recovery-oriented practice. I worked in community and correctional mental health. I have worked in medical, surgical and neurological acute care and rehabilitation units and in low-income countries experiencing armed conflict and displaced populations.

I offer education, training and consultancy to service provider agencies. Highlights of my recent work with VTMH include a project I co-led with a University of Melbourne colleague, to create digital stories with community members, and completing a cluster evaluation of a state government-funded community projects. I’ve collaborated with my colleagues to document VTMH’s work in various reports on topics including responding to diversity and cultural responsiveness in specialist mental health services.

I look forward to continuing to contribute to VTMH’s important work, especially in undertaking participatory evaluation and research and advocating so that communities have opportunities to talk about mental health and access supports that are safe, appropriate and meaningful to them.