Over the past 25 years Tom has been active in mental health and health policy, social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB), clinical mental health care, suicide prevention, education and mental health leadership. Tom is a Kamilaroi/Gomeroi man born in Gunnedah, NSW. He is a member of the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council, the National Congress of Australia’s First People, Indigenous Allied Health Australia and Chairs the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health Ltd.
Since 2007, Tom has been the State-wide Coordinator for the NSW Aboriginal Mental Health Workforce Program. He has many published articles regarding this workforce and advocates for the broad emerging professional workforces across all health and human services. While many gains have occurred, there is still much work to fully realise this growing workforce within the NSW mental health system and beyond. Emerging workforces are clearly listed here.
The inequities in all areas of mental health facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is a priority and requires a sustained effort at all levels to improve outcomes for individuals, families and communities. For example workforce parity is required in all areas of mental health care and this remains the responsibility of the helping professions across health and human services, universities and workplaces to ensure they are meeting the responsibilities as outlined in all the literature and in accordance with the long standing call from Aboriginal people and consistent with the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration. Self-determination is central to this priority.
“If we are to espouse a healthy nation we urgently need healthy Aboriginal people, healthy mental health consumers, healthy inmates, healthy migrants, healthy first responders, healthy children and healthy parents. We cannot build these areas without effective partnerships/relationships, effective/improved evidence and a workforce specific to meet these needs.”
Tom Brideson’s appointment as Deputy Commissioner is from December 2018 until November 2021.