Beyond Blue appoints new Chair

23 May 2024

The Beyond Blue Board has appointed The Honourable Linda Dessau AC CVO as Beyond Blue Chair.

Ms Dessau – a widely respected former Governor, celebrated community leader and pioneering legal figure – was unanimously endorsed for the role by Beyond Blue directors at a meeting this week. She will take up the role immediately.

“I'm delighted to accept this role with an organisation that plays such a vital role in the community. Over more than two decades, Beyond Blue has established itself as one of the nation's most trusted and recognised mental health organisations, and I share its vision that all people in Australia achieve their best possible mental health,” Ms Dessau said.

Ms Dessau served an eight-year term as Governor of Victoria until last June. Prior to that, she had a distinguished career as a federal Family Court judge and as a magistrate serving with the Children’s Court, Magistrates’ Court and Coroners Court. Ms Dessau led and participated in several reformist national projects, including those involving family violence and child abuse, to support legal aid, and to modernise the system.

Ms Dessau has also been active in supporting a diverse range of community-based causes and organisations. She has served on the board of Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Centre, been an AFL Commissioner, was President of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria and member of the Royal Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee.

“Over my career, I have seen how the cards we’re dealt in life can shift and shape our mental health and wellbeing. I often reflect on people’s remarkable resilience and capacity for growth through adversity when they have the right supports at the right time,” Ms Dessau said.

“I join Beyond Blue at a time when so many people in Australia from all walks of life are dealing every day with significant upheaval, uncertainty and pressures, and a mental health crisis that is disproportionately affecting our young people, First Nations communities, people who live in regional Australia and the bush, and many other groups.”

“I look forward to working with my Board colleagues and supporting the team to deliver Beyond Blue’s strategy and focus on prevention and earlier intervention,” Ms Dessau added.

The announcement follows the appointment in April of Beyond Blue’s previous Chair, Sam Mostyn AO, as Australia’s next Governor-General.

Interim Beyond Blue Chair Kate Carnell, AO, said: “Over the course of her career, Ms Dessau has witnessed humanity in all its light and shade. She is widely respected and has an impressive record of non-partisan leadership. Her warmth, compassion and integrity reflect Beyond Blue's values and are thrilled to have her on board.”

Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said the organisation was fortunate to have a leader of Ms Dessau’s calibre, connections, and influence.

"Ms Dessau is impeccably credentialled and has decades of involvement in progressive governance, legal, business and community endeavours. She is ideally placed to assume the Chair for Beyond Blue as we continue our work helping all Australians to feel better earlier, to get well and to stay well,” Ms Harman said.

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