Dr Lynne Russell

Senior Advisor, Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, New Zealand

Dr Lynne Russell is an academic researcher within the Health Services Research Centre, Faculty of Health at Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa. She has worked in the field of Māori health for over three decades (primarily as a researcher); much of her research has focussed on Indigenous mental health and wellbeing, including her PhD (Massey University, 2006) which studied the relationship between cultural identity and wellbeing for Māori, and her postdoctoral research in Australia and Great Turtle Island between 2009 and 2011 which investigated the influence of culture on the meaning that Indigenous peoples impart to mental distress. Lynne is currently seconded from Victoria University to work as a Senior Advisor to the New Zealand Government’s Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

As a Senior Research Fellow – Māori Health, Lynne’s research interests lay in Indigenous knowledge and healing practices used in recovery from trauma associated with mental distress, suicide loss and self-harm – a space she knows intimately; Lynne’s whānau (family) have been devastated by the pain of suicide many times over. As a grandmother, mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, niece and friend of far too many others also wounded by suicide, she uses both her personal and professional experiences to promote its storying in way that helps prevent more. For the last six years she has been writing a book based on her postdoctoral research, but derived from these personal experiences and driven by her passion for the transformative power and healing potential of Indigenous storytelling, with this in mind.