Melissa is an enthusiastic youth mental health advocate, psychology student and aspiring researcher studying a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Swinburne University.
She is motivated to pursue a career in mental health after recovering from anorexia and experiencing the limitations in current services. Melissa is passionate about involving lived-experience voices in decision-making in mental health. She advocates that the system must give those it seeks to serve a voice in policy, research and clinical programs in order for those programs to work.
Melissa is currently co-authoring a book chapter on youth participation in mental health services alongside researchers from Orygen and Jigsaw (Ireland). As a member of the Butterfly Foundation’s National Speakers’ Bureau, she regularly speaks to her lived-experience at investment forums, conferences and professional events.
She shared her story with the ABC and Canberra Times to help secure funding for a Canberran in-patient eating disorder treatment centre, which she hopes will soon be delivered in order to address gaps in services in her hometown.
In 2020, she helped co-design headspace National’s ‘Visible’ campaign, which tells stories about mental health through artistic mediums.
Melissa is now involved in mental health reform in Victoria through her work on the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System and whole-of-government Youth Strategy. She believes reform must focus on reducing economic, social and cultural inequalities in accessing treatment, and prepare for the impacts of climate change on wellbeing.
As a member of the Youth Research Council, she is excited to work alongside likeminded advocates and mental health professionals to drive positive change in the mental health space.