Mental Health Employee or Volunteer Excellence Award, sponsored by Act-Belong-Commit

Majori Kalunga 

Majorie Kalunga has been employed by Southern Cross Care Western Australia (SCCWA) for the past 13 years. She began her career in 2008, where she worked as a multi-skilled carer at the SCCWA residential aged care facility, Villa Pelletier. In that same year, Majorie completed a diploma in community service and applied to join the SCCWA Mental Health unit. She was appointed as a support worker in the Community Options residential program in 2009 and remained in that role for 11 years at the Mount Claremont site. During this time the support worker role evolved significantly, taking on the title of recovery partner and the program fully embraced a person-centred, recovery model of practice in 2015. The program was implemented across three metropolitan sites, for people aged over 18 years who had endured long term hospital admissions, while living with the challenges of severe and persistent mental illness. The program provides accommodation for 22 residents, with around-the-clock, non-clinical, recovery-based support, and aims to decrease hospitalisation but more importantly, to help people realise their self-worth, work on independent living skills, in order to live their best lives. 

Irene Patroni 

Irene Patroni has been a Grow member since 1980. Her 41-year career started as a peer support volunteer and progressed into leadership roles over the next few years to 1983, first as a recorder in a Grow Group, and then as organiser, which carried a great deal of responsibility within the group.  

In 1983, Irene was hired to work for GrowWA as a program secretary and held the position for 23 years until she retired in 2006. From 2006, Irene again volunteered for GrowWA. She transitioned into another leadership role as a representative of the voices of other Growers by becoming a member of the BPT, a position she still holds today. Throughout this 15-year period, Irene has been the organiser for three different groups and still holds the position of organiser of one group. 

Naomi Carter 

Naomi Carter was appointed as the principal of the newly established WA Recovery College Alliance (WARCA) in July 2020. During the past year, she has built the college from the ground up. In collaboration with the broader alliance, Naomi developed educational frameworks and an Educator Foundation Program that honours the principles of the Recovery College Model.  Due to Naomi’s leadership, WARCA has maintained excellence in mental health best practice. Her passion for the Recovery College Model is embodied in her commitment to build the appropriate framework to continue the growth of the college for the long term future. Naomi’s aim is to support the community in multiple geographical locations and to take the local needs in each location into account when developing a course. All of this happened under Naomi’s leadership in just over a year.