Caro Swanson

Caro Swanson is Principal Advisor Mental Health and Service User Lead for Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, national centre of evidence-based workforce development for the adult mental health, addiction and disability sectors in New Zealand. Caro has worked in mental health in a variety of lived experience roles for more than 20 years. Currently, she leads the national peer workforce development suite of projects and co-leads the national least restrictive practice suite of projects for Te Pou. As a champion of Equally Well, New Zealand for many years, Caro vigorously highlights the importance of lived experience leadership, participation and co-production as essential in seeking effective solutions and better futures for people and their families. In 2018 Caro nearly became an Equally Well statistic when she unexpectedly had to undergo open heart surgery from undiagnosed cardiovascular disease. This highlighted for her the urgent need to un-silo physical health, mental health and addiction services and meet the needs of people earlier and more holistically.