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Len Kanowski is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, Harvard/University of Melbourne; International Mental Health Leadership Fellow; and Visiting Fellow at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Australian National University, Canberra ACT.
Len has worked in the mental health and drug and alcohol field nationally and internationally since 1977. In collaboration with his mental health colleague Judy Westerway, Len developed the Djirruwang Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Worker course and program in 1993. The Djirruwang program was developed in close partnership with Aboriginal communities and organisations.
Len also developed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Program in 2006 in conjunction with peak Aboriginal health organisations and the Commonwealth Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Len’s international mental health work includes the establishment of the Mental Health First Aid Program in Thailand, Singapore and New Zealand.
From 2005-2009, Len held the position of Deputy Director, Mental Health First Aid at the University of Melbourne. He was the Area Coordinator for Aboriginal Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services in Western and Far Western New South Wales from 2009-2012 and represented NSW Health in the establishment of the Murdi Paaki Drug & Alcohol Network in that region.
Len’s interests include improving mental health literacy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing and mental health and drug and alcohol service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In 2014, Len was awarded an Australian Rotary Health/Kaiyu Enterprises Scholarship to undertake doctoral research in the area of Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Worker support.