5 Questions with Bronwyn Lawman
08 Dec 2020
After having recently joined the Board of Thorne Harbour Health, we chatted to Bronwyn Lawman about her longstanding career in mental health, why she's keen to play an influential role at the organisation, and her love of Abba.
Our LGBTI community is made up of a plethora of smaller communities and intersectionalities, how do you identify within these?
I am a lesbian and have been out since I was 18, I have always been attracted to women since I was a young girl. It has taken many years but I am pretty comfortable in my own skin.
What motivated you to get involved with Thorne Harbour Health?
I was approached by the CEO Simon Ruth to consider being a board member because I am an out lesbian with many years of experience working in the mental health sector. Mental health issues for our community is something I care deeply about. Too many people are struggling and we need to do better in supporting them. THH is a very welcoming organisation that focuses on our community. I feel passionate about providing LGBTI specific services. I thought my mental health expertise may be useful for the board in delivering on the strategic plan.
Is there any aspect Thorne Harbour’s work that you’re particularly passionate about?
I think THH does amazing work for the Trans and gender diverse community, and the work around HIV and advocacy is impressive. As a young registered nurse, my first role was working in the infectious diseases ward at Royal Brisbane Hospital. The AIDS epidemic was just hitting that hospital at the time. I enjoyed caring for those people and since then have always held a keen interest in HIV and AIDS. I am also concerned about other groups in our community like the lesbian and bisexual communities and hope over time that the provision of therapy can be expanded to ensure we can service all of our community. The rates of anxiety/ depression and self- harm are very high and sadly suicide rates are also way too high.
When you’re not serving on the Board of THH – what do you get up to?
I am the Operations Director at a public mental health service here in Melbourne. I am a proud mental health nurse and I enjoy the beach and gardening. I have a few animals including cats, chooks and fish. I also love Abba.
The past year has been like no other in recent memory, what do you think we’ve learned from the past year in responding to COVID-19 and how do you think it has changed us for the better going into the future?
The last year has been hellish working in public health very close to the front line. I think this year has taught me what is important in this world. Our health and being with the people we love is vital for our wellbeing. As humans, we are deeply to connected to each other. We have an important part to play in being kind to ourselves, others, animals and the world and environment we live in.