July 6, 2022

Meet Joy Barrowman – Operations Director, North West Area Mental Health

During the course of the past week, we have been introducing some of the key members who will be leading the new mental health team at Northern Health.

On 1 July, Northern Health officially became a designated mental health service. Approximately 800 staff were welcomed to the Northern Health family. This week, the leadership team will be spending time visiting staff at different sites and welcoming them with special treats and an insight into what they can expect while working at Northern Health.

Today, as we continue our introductory series, we speak to Joy Barrowman – Operations Director, North West Area Mental Health, to understand her role and get to know her better.

Joy, let’s start with your coffee order?

Black and short.

Tell us about your role as Operations Director, NWAMHS, and what it entails?

In partnership with the Director Clinical Services NWAMHS and the Divisional leadership team, my role contributes to the overall operational management and leadership of NWAMHS clinical services (Community, In Patient, Residential, Private, Research and a number of specialist programs) across the Hume and Moreland catchments. The role is a busy one, supporting our staff to enable and deliver the highest quality care possible to our consumers, their families and the community itself.

The role, in partnership, sets the strategic direction for continuous improvement and growth of our services to meet the increasing demand and complexity of the community and  population we service.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day. Often what is in my diary is trumped by unexpected events and demands. Multiple meetings, and tasks relating to operations, legal, service submissions and daily clinical incidents and demands. However, if a code goes off in the building, all gets dropped and I attend and support the staff. 

What excites you about your role?

What excites me are both the passion of my staff and the hope and caring for our consumers, especially with all the opportunities the Royal Commission will bring. 

What are some of the challenges of this role?

There have been many challenges in the past, mainly around resourcing, and hence why the current changes are being brought about. While those challenges do exist, I am looking ahead to what we can accomplish together as a new team and an improved service.

Lastly, what would people be most surprised to know about you?

I have my pilots licence and my Real Estate Representative Certification (love the property market). I am also a grandmother of 10 fur-babies, seven grandchildren, with two granddaughters recently born six weeks apart – Billie and Harper.

Joy’s number one fur-baby, Louie