Jan began advocating for people experiencing mental health problems, as well as their families and other natural supports, when her son James developed schizophrenia in his late teens. Based on her own experiences and those of many others since the mid-1990’s, Jan firmly believes that the recovery journey is buoyed and reinforced when the person concerned, as well as their families and carers fully understand their roles and are given hope – from Day One.
As an active member of the MIFQ-supported Elanora Carers Group and other organisations, Jan developed a wide network for the sharing of information and ideas. She has participated on a number of policy and planning committees at the local, State and national levels for more than 20 years, to promote better services and outcomes for service users and their families.
In 2011 Jan became the inaugural chair of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Consumer and Carer Engagement Group (CCEG), which subsequently became the Metro North Hospital and Health Service’ mental health CCEG.
Jan was a foundation member of the Consortium Management Committee for the Commonwealth-funded Brisbane North Partners in Recovery program from 2012 and was also a member of the National Mental Health Services Planning Framework Expert Panel in 2016.
Jan was also the inaugural Deputy Chair for the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council (QMHADAC), which provides advice to the Queensland Mental Health Commission.
In 2017, when her term with the QMHADAC ended, Jan stepped down from her various commitments, recognising the need to make way for emerging voices to be sought and heard. She is currently a member of the Queensland Mental Health Week Steering Committee and Working Group.
Jan was thrilled to be recognised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to community health as an advocate for support for people with a mental illness, and their carers and families.