Advisory Group

This project is guided by both a project advisory group and lived experience advisory group.

Project Advisory Group

The central purpose of the Project Advisory Group is to guide the progress of the research and provide advice from a range of relevant perspectives. It is an important part of the project and will comprise of mental health and allied practitioners, policymakers, academics with experience in social research in mental health and arts-based research methods, as well as members of the research team. The current membership of the Project Advisory Group includes:



Helen Lowy
Program Manager, Medicines, Mental Health and Wellbeing
Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse | Mental Health Division | Department of Health

Helen is a public servant; project manager; change manager; pharmacist; counsellor and private practitioner. Helen is passionate about bringing together diverse stakeholders to create innovation in medicines, mental health, and wellbeing. Helen has specific interests in trauma, psychological safety, and workplace wellbeing.

Jillian April 2021 (002)

Associate Professor Jillian Broadbear
Senior Research Fellow

Jillian directs the clinical research program at Spectrum, Personality Disorder Service for Victoria. Jillian is committed to seeking and hearing the lived-experience voice in her work; lived-experience profoundly shapes the way personality disorder can be understood, informing how we engage in research that will provide the best evidence-base for treatment and support.


Rachel Earl

Dr Rachel Earl
Director, Priority Populations
National Mental Health Commission

Dr Rachel Earl is a public health practitioner who lives and works on the lands of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri People in the South East of Melbourne. Rachel holds a combined Master of Psychology (Clinical)/PhD from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Public Health (Health Management) from Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. Rachel is passionate about the intersection of psychology and public health and has built experience across spheres of government in Australia, University teaching and research, the United Nations, and International Non-Government Organisations. Rachel's current role is as a Director in the National Mental Health Commission.

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Dr Laura Hayes
Manager of Service Design and Research
Mind Australia

Dr Hayes has directed the design and implementation of outcome measures at Mind using a digital approach to ensure that all users, from clients to managers, can track real-time progress using data dashboards. She has designed and lead original research at Mind such as the Young Carer initiative. Dr Hayes has extensive experience in research and evaluation and subject matter expertise in the NDIS, mental health and well-being and evaluation methodologies, program logic and outcome mapping. Previously she has managed knowledge synthesis, research, evaluation and knowledge translation activities in the areas of family and child well-being, vulnerable families, the impacts of mental illness on families and effective supports for psychosocial disability on projects such as Emerging Minds and ParentingNow webinars.

John Foley
Director, Policy and Advocacy
Mental Health Victoria

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Jacklyn Whybrow
National Clinical Lead
Neami National

Jacklyn has worked across public, private and non-government sector in critical care, palliative care, trauma and mental health. Jacklyn brings clinical expertise and an advanced scope of practice in clinical social work in early intervention, adult, acute care, early psychosis and has specialised in working with people who experience big emotions and their support people. She is passionate about clinical governance and leadership in healthcare settings and is actively engaged in the Australia Association of Social Work as former Vice President of Qld Branch, Branch Management Member and is a foundation member of the Australian College of Social Work clinical Division. Jacklyn has been actively involved in social policy and reform agenda in her previous role as acting chief executive and Director at the state community mental health peak and has provided significant contribution as an advocate for building the capacity of the sector.

Sharon 2021

Professor Sharon Lawn
Chair and Executive Director
Lived Experience Australia

Sharon is Chair and Executive Director of Lived Experience Australia, a nationally awarded mental health consumer and carer advocacy organisation. She identifies as both a consumer and family carer. In a past life, Sharon also worked as a social worker in public mental health services in South Australia for several years. Sharon is also a Professor at Flinders University and undertakes a broad range of mental health research. She is particularly passionate about addressing physical health and mental health comorbidity, stigma and coercion in care and exploring the person’s and their family’s experiences of seeking and receiving support within health care systems. Sharon is internationally recognised for her research on chronic condition self-management, self-care, peer work, and smoking in mental health settings.


Mahlie Jewell
SANE Australia

Mahlie Jewell (AThR, M.ACA) is a queer First Nations woman (she/her) who lives on the stolen land of the Wangal people. She lives well with Borderline Personality Disorder, Complex PTSD, panic disorder, brain injury and autoimmune chronic illness. She holds a Masters degree in Art Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Communication Graphic (co)Design, as well as being a qualified DBT practitioner. Her works on living with and working with others with complex mental health issues have been academically internationally published through her work at Project Air Strategy (University of Wollongong), the Australian BPD Foundation and within private practice. Mahlie uses frameworks from Intentional Peer Support, Trauma and Diversity informed practice and Narrative Therapy when working alongside participants. She currently runs DBT Art Skills groups, open and queer art therapy groups in private practice and "BeWell - a DBT art-based emotional wellness course" for LGBTIQA+ people at Twenty10 and QLife.

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Rita Brown
Australian Borderline Personality Foundation

Rita is a volunteer and the current President of the Australian BPD Foundation and a co-facilitator of the Mind Australia BPD Family and Carer Support Group. She is a passionate advocate drawing on her lived experience as a family member of someone with BPD to advocate for the needs of families and friends while also remaining sensitive to the needs of people with BPD and clinicians and other workers.

Rita is currently the Carer Consultant for Spectrum the Personality Disorder Service in Victoria and has presented in numerous conferences and contributed to various papers and publications.

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Scientia Professor Jillian Bennett
Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow
The University of New South Wales

Scientia Professor Jill Bennett is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, leading the feltExperience & Empathy Lab (fEEL) at UNSWShe is founding director of The Big Anxiety - Festival of people + arts + science <>; and Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA). fEEL brings together immersive media artists, curators/engagement designers, clinical/counselling psychologists and communities to conduct arts-led research on the lived experience of mental and emotional health. Jill has worked for many years on trauma and creative practice. Her books include Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma & Contemporary Art (Stanford UP, 2005) and most recently, Thinking in the World (Bloomsbury, 2020), co-edited with Mary Zournazi. Her team’s immersive media artworks include The Visit (with women living with dementia); Waumananyi: The Song on the Wind, with Uti Kulintjaku, an Anangu-led response to the experiences of constraint, entrapment, and depression through the traditional story (or ‘tjukurpa’) of ‘The Man in the Log’; and EmbodiMap—a VR experience for exploring the embodied experience of trauma and anxiety. With Lynn Froggett and Lizzie Muller she has developed the concept of psychosocial aesthetics, along with protocols and evaluation methods for working with trauma and mental health.

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Professor Katherine Boydell
Professor Mental Health
Black Dog Institute

Professor Boydell is Head of the AKT (arts-based knowledge translation) Lab at the Black Dog Institute and Director of Knowledge Translation, Maridulu Budyari Gumal - Sydney Partnership for Health Education Research and Enterprise (SPHERE). Her participatory, collaborative program of research uses the arts, broadly defined, in the research creation and dissemination process. She uses installation art as a knowledge translation strategy to share empirical research findings to a wide range of audiences. Using these strategies has resulted in increased mental health literacy, decreased stigma and enhanced help seeking. She has published more than 250 journal articles, book chapters and books and recently published Body mapping in research: An arts-based method (2021).

Lived Experience Advisory Group

This project is supported by dedicated group of individuals with lived experience associated with BPD. Lived Experience Advisory Group consists of people with experience of living with either diagnosis of BPD or symptoms that are usually associated with BPD. The group offers a range of diverse, non-consensual perspectives on BPD that informs the development of the research in an on-going manner. Due to the pervasiveness of societal stigma associated with BPD, some of the group members have chosen to stay anonymous and others are presented below in a de-identified manner.

Anna* (pseudonym) is a PhD student studying mental health and illness from a lived experience
perspective. She has long-term mental illness and has experienced multiple diagnoses, including one of BPD. Her PhD research enables her to straddle the academic/lived experience divide and speak into and across both spaces. She is committed to using her experience to advocate against stigma and for universities to make themselves more accessible for people experiencing mental illness. 

Ashley* (pseudonym) is someone who was labelled with BPD in their early adulthood. They were also labelled with other diagnoses at this time and even more as they grew older. None of them really made sense or described their own experiences. Ashley questions the validity of the diagnosis of BPD for themselves and for others as they see it as a means to obscure hardship and trauma people have experienced.