The Chairman of Beyond Blue The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC has announced that Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO has joined the Board of Beyond Blue.
Mr Kennett said Dr Haikerwal’s insights and expertise will be an invaluable asset to the Board. As a Director he will continue contributing to Beyond Blue’s efforts to improve the mental health of Australian health professionals, including doctors, for the benefit of the whole community.
“As Chair of the Advisory Committee for Beyond Blue’s National Doctors’ Mental Health Program since 2009, Dr Haikerwal has already played a key role in Beyond Blue’s work in this area, including advising on a world-first survey on the mental health of Australian medical students and doctors.
“Released in 2013, the survey of more than 42,000 doctors and 6,500 medical students revealed that many were burnt out, and that medical professionals are around five times more likely to experience very high levels of psychological distress than other professionals, and around twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts.
“Dr Haikerwal has made a monumental contribution to the medical field, through his leadership roles as Chairman of Council for the World Medical Association (2011-2015), and National President of the Australian Medical Association (2005-2007).
“He has also been a warm and committed family doctor for more than three decades. During this time Dr Haikerwal has worked with thousands of families, and he brings the wisdom and perspective he has gained from this experience to the Beyond Blue Board.
“We are fortunate Dr Haikerwal has agreed to join us to help improve the lives of Australians affected by depression, anxiety and suicide.”
Dr Haikerwal said he is thrilled to be appointed to the Board.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to join the Beyond Blue Board and work with the other Board members who are so knowledgeable and highly respected by the Australian community.
“In a short time, Beyond Blue has done a great deal to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on Australians, but much remains to be done, particularly changing the way people think about these conditions and breaking down stigma. Through my work as a doctor I’ve seen first-hand how stigma can prevent people who are struggling, including medical professionals, from seeking the support they desperately need in a timely way.
“I look forward to working with Beyond Blue in this new capacity to improve understanding of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma among the Australian community.”
Dr Haikerwal will attend his first Beyond Blue Board meeting in June this year.