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Dr Leibrich Resigns From Mental Health Commission

MEDIA RELEASE, May 1, 2000

Dr Leibrich Resigns From Mental Health Commission

Health Minister Annette King said today she had learned of the resignation of Dr Julie Leibrich as a Mental Health Commissioner with "deep regret".

Dr Leibrich said today: "I've done my best for mental health in my time as a commissioner, but now I want to be freer to work even more creatively in the area of human rights. That is difficult while carrying the general administrative responsibilities as a commissioner.

"I think it's rather hard to keep your spirit alive in bureaucracies and one's spirit is a very precious thing. I also have a responsibility to myself and want to give more time to follow other interests too.

"I have worked with some wonderful people over the past four years, and hope I will continue to work with some of them, but in a different capacity."

Dr Leibrich, who was appointed to the commission in 1996, will continue as a commissioner until July.

Mrs King said she understood Dr Leibrich's reasons for resigning, but it was with "deep regret" she had learned of her decision.

"She has made a wonderful contribution to the Mental Health Commission, and can take a great deal of pride in what she has achieved," Mrs King said.

"Dr Leibrich was instrumental in getting the anti-discrimination programme off the ground. Anyone who has read her inspiring book, A Gift of Stories, will understand how difficult it is for people to speak about their experiences with mental illness, and how courageous they are when they do share their stories, as they have done in this book.

"The contributions she has made to the commission will certainly not be lost or forgotten, and I know she will continue to work in the mental health area."

For more information, contact Tessa Castree, Mental Health Commission, (04) 474 8919.

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