From seven outstanding finalists to one, the first Australian Mental Health Prize winner was announced in December 2016.
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) CEO Kim Ryan was selected as the winner by the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group (the Group) for her work in mental health.
Chair of the Group Ita Buttrose, said they were impressed with Ms Ryan’s commitment to advancing the profession of mental health nursing.
“Mental health nurses are often at the frontline when it comes to working with people who experience mental health conditions in the community.
“Kim’s work demonstrates the enormous difference that specially trained mental health nurses can make in the recovery of people with mental illness,” said Ms Buttrose.
Ms Ryan attended the event, which was held at the University of New South Wales, with her family and was surprised and thrilled with the outcome.
“I’m incredibly honoured and completely overwhelmed to have won this prestigious prize. I am fortunate to work with some incredible people and I feel exceptionally proud to be representing the profession of mental health nursing.
“To have been selected from such a high calibre group of finalists is very humbling.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull presented the prize. He acknowledged the continued reluctance of Australians to talk openly about mental health.
“The Australian Mental Health Prize, which I commend the University, is another step towards a more open and honest national conversation.”
ACMHN President Wendy Cross said everyone at the organisation was extremely proud of the recognition of Ms Ryan’s commitment to the profession.
“Kim is passionate about and committed to improving mental health outcomes for Australians who experience mental health issues.
“I think it’s safe to say we couldn’t think of a better recipient of this inaugural prize and that we are extremely proud of her,” said Ms Cross.