Dr. Beth Wilson AM
Victoria’s Health Services Commissioner, 1997-2012
On 1 May 1997 until December 2012 Beth Wilson was Victoria’s Health Services Commissioner. She is a lawyer by training and has worked mainly in administrative law. Beth has had a long-standing interest in medico/legal and ethical issues. Prior to becoming Health Services Commissioner, Beth was the President of the Mental Health Review Board, a Senior Legal Member of the Social Security Appeals Board and WorkCare Appeals Board and a past President of the Victorian Branch of ANZAPPL (Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law). In 2007 Beth was appointed a member of the Disability Services Board. In 2013 Beth became a Legal Member, Mental Health Review Board.
Beth has received several important awards in recognition of her achievements. These include:
- 2002 – Monash University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding professional achievements and inspirational leadership
- 2003 – Centenary Medal for services to health
- 2004 – An Honorary Doctorate from RMIT for contributions to health education
- 2008 – Induction onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for services to women’s health in Victoria
- 2013 – Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community of Victoria through the provision of dispute resolution in the area of health services.
Beth is a public speaker providing seminars, lectures and classes for consumers, carers, health service providers, business and others. She loves humour, story telling, art and music and her favourite topics are inspirational leadership, promoting positive culture change in organisations, the importance of team work.
“Mental illness affects everyone; those who experience it personally, their families, especially children, and the whole of society. Children are often the forgotten victims of mental illnesses, sometimes with tragic consequences. I became only too aware of this when I was President of the Mental Health Review Board witnessing cases where mental health workers had called at a house to make sure a parent was okay but no one thought to check out the welfare of the children. Sadly some of those kids are no longer with us. That is the extreme end of the story and along the way there are thousands of other stories of families struggling to cope with the consequences of mental illness which include financial, legal and social issues; just keeping the family together is often a major challenge.
I first became aware of the work being done in this area when I was at a mental health conference in 1992 when I was approached by Vicki Cowling who told me what she and her colleagues were beginning to do to help children in families where mental illness was present. I was very moved by what Vicki had to say and also by her persistence! Fast forward to 2008 and the persistence of many of those colleagues results in the formation of Satellite Foundation. I am very proud, more than two decades since that conference, to be a Patron of the Satellite Foundation which, amongst other things, gives the children a chance to work with caring, consistent people who provide opportunities for them to be creative and happy.”