Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership
The Hon. James Merlino MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Mental Health, was first in line to celebrate the contribution of Mental Health Victoria's outgoing CEO Angus Clelland.
Angus' "five outstanding years" in the role, said Minister Merlino during a public online farewell this week, had been "nothing short of monumental".
"The ambitious mental health reform agenda we see today would not have been possible without your passion, leadership and expertise," he said. "You've kept us all to task, constantly reminding us what we're here for."
Katherine Whetton, Deputy Secretary Mental Health in the Victorian Department of Health, agreed, lauding the "stellar contribution" Angus had made to the sector while at the helm of MHV.
In particular, she highlighted Angus' strong and unifying sector-wide leadership before, during and since Victoria's Mental Health Royal Commission.
"You've transformed MHV into a strong and influential voice for the sector and a great source of ideas and advice," she said.
MHV Patron Prof Allan Fels AO, gave a short overview of the transformation Angus had led MHV through, to "establish the organisation as a major stakeholder in the mental health sector".
"He brought to the role a real genuine desire to bring the sector together," he said.
Prof Patrick McGorry, MHV Ambassador, also noted Angus' inclusive approach. He had helped "bind together all of the people that really care about ... the people affected by mental illness, in a way I've never seen before".
In an emotional and humour-filled tribute, Ingrid Ozols AM, Chair of MHV's Lived Experience Advisory Group, said it had been an "absolute joy" working with Angus.
"We're going to miss you ... We send you enormous amounts of love and appreciation for what you've done, not only for the sector but for the reform process that lies ahead."
Damian Ferrie, Chair of MHV, highlighted Angus' courage, humility, and hard-working nature. "I speak on behalf of the board in acknowledging Gus' hard work, persistence, insight and drive," he said.
"Gus doesn't say a lot, but what he does say is based on the data and evidence he's collected, or the experience of those who he's spoken to. So it comes with integrity, sincerity and kindess."
In his response, Angus said his time in the role had "gone in an instant". He marvelled at all that had been achieved during that time.
"Back in 2018 we set out on a mission to improve the lives of people living with mental illness," he said. "Who would have thought we'd be in the position we are today ... Enormous progress has been made."
With characteristic humility, he highlighted collective rather than personal effort.
"That really gets down to ... the stakeholders that came together and set aside some of the competitive aspects of what they do and really showed a willingness to work together.
"Through all of those efforts, Victoria will have, without a doubt, the model mental health system in Australia. It will be held up as an international model of best practice."
Angus will commence next week as CEO of On the Line.