Professor Sharon Lawn


College of Medicine and Public Health

place Health Sciences (2.06)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Sharon has undertaken a broad range of mental health research at Flinders University including in smoking cessation, chronic condition self-management, healthcare workforce, health services research, veteran transition and suicide research, coercive practices, mental health peer workforce, and consumer and family experiences within systems of healthcare. Her research uses a broad range of qualitative and mixed methods, and focuses on examining the culture of service provision, systems of care, implementation, and service users' experiences of care. Sharon is a former lead Mental Health Commissioner for South Australia. Sharon is highly active in mental health lived experience advocacy in Australia and is Chair and Executive Director of Lived Experience Australia, a leading national lived experience advocacy peak organisation. 

PhD, MSW, Dip Ed., BA
Honours, awards and grants

Exceptional contribution to Mental Health Services in Australia by an Individual - The Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Conference 2007.

SA Pride of Australia Medal - Community Spirit Category, 2012.

2013 Top Ten most viewed ROAR Profiles Australian PHC Research

Winner, 2015 TheMHS Conference Award Category entitled – ‘Consumer Led’. For significant and sustained consumer and carer advocacy.

BMC International Section Editor of the Year, 2016

Winner, Carers SA Carer Achievement Award, SA Community Achievement Awards, 2016

Winner, TheMHS Conference - Lived Experience Leadership Category: Making a difference with and for consumers and carers, 2021 (Lived Experience Australia)

Winner, Inaugural Equally Well Award, Partnership and Collaboration in Research, 2023 (Lived Experience Australia)

Key responsibilities

Co-Director, Open Door: Understanding and supporting service personnel and their families

Former Course Coordinator for the Post Graduate Program in Chronic Condition Management and Self-Management

Former Director, Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit, Dept of Psychiatry, Flinders University

Teaching interests
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Mental Health
  • Addictions / Tobacco
  • Person Centred Approaches
Supervisory interests
Chronic condition self-managment support
Consumer and carer perspectives
Mental health
Tobacco control
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Gambling (1), Physical health and mental health (1), NDIS and Palliative Care (1), Seclusion and Restraint in Mental Health (2)
Associate supervisor: Chronic condition management in children (University of Sydney) (1), Gambling in Vietnamese population (1), Complex Community Needs and Mental Health (1), Borderline Personality and Suicidality Disorder (1), Veterans Transition (1)
Principal supervisor: Youth, Mental Health, Technology (1), Mental Health Carers (1), Paramedicine (1), Chronic Conditions in Children and Youth (1), Dental Care in Children in Indonesia (1)
Associate supervisor: Acquired Brain Injury - family carers (1), Gambling (1), Mental Health and Physical Health (1), Mental Health and Coercion in Care (CTOs) (1), Smoking and Mental Health (2), Interprofessional Practice (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Teresa Kelly

Heart Foundation Scholarship 2014 -

Nicole Micallef

Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme: NAHSSS Scholarship 2014 -

Simone Orlowski

RHD Student Publication Award - AUG 2015

Eleanor Watson

Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship - MAR 2019

Pauline Klein

Suicide Prevention Australia Scholarship - JUN 2019

Sara Zabeen

Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship - DEC 2017

Suzanne Dawson

Australian Federation of University Women SA Inc Trust Fund -

Dini Setyowati

Directorate General of Resources for Science, Technology and Higher Education (DG-RSTHE) of the Republic of Indonesia Scholarship - DEC 2014

Expert for media contact
Health/Medical education
Mental health
Chronic Condition Management adn Self-Management
Health Service Consumer and Carer Issues
Mental Health
Smoking and Mental Health
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Addiction
  • Family
  • Health/Medical education
  • Mental health
  • Schizophrenia
  • Veterans
  • Chronic Condition Management adn Self-Management
  • Health Service Consumer and Carer Issues
  • Mental Health
  • Smoking and Mental Health
Further information

A recent interview on 5AA about gambling, families and help-seeking