About / Staff and Volunteers
Our Staff and Volunteers
– Executive Director
Susana Bluwol is the Founder and Executive Director of Bipolar Australia.
Born in Argentina, Susana migrated to Australia in 1983. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1996, Susana has always believed in the value of person-centred recovery models. She has been the facilitator of the Ryde Bipolar Support Group since 2004, and founded Bipolar Australia in 2014 in conjunction with other members of this group.
Susana has a degree in Early Childhood Education, and has previously worked with the National Consumers and Carers Forum, the Transcultural Mental Health CALD Reference Group, the Schizophrenia Fellowship’s Remind education program, and the National CALD Speakers Bureau, as well as appearing on SBS radio and SBS television.
Susana has presented papers at TheMHS Australia conferences on topics including the benefits of inclusive support groups, and the pioneering therapeutic community treatment model developed by Dr Jorge Garcia Badaracco in her native Argentina. She has also spoken about her personal journey of recovery from bipolar disorder at the International Mental Health Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr Meg Smith OAM
– Student Supervisor
Dr Meg Smith is the acting Student Supervisor for Bipolar Australia.
Meg recently retired from her role as an Associate Professor at the University of Western Sydney’s School of Social Sciences. She is a part-time member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal, a part-time member of the Guardianship Tribunal, and the President of WayAhead (the Mental Health Association of NSW).
Meg has been active in the reform of mental health services and policy since the early 1980s, when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and previously served as a Director of the Black Dog Institute, and a Director of the New South Wales Depression and Mood Disorders Association. She currently works in private practice as a community psychologist.
Meg’s current research interests include the management of bipolar disorder, cannabis use and mental illness, and social and community issues impacting people living with lived experience of mental illness.
Osvaldo (Michael) Bluwol
– Founding Member of Bipolar Australia
Osvaldo Bluwol is a Founding Member of Bipolar Australia, its initial financial supporter, and the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer.
Born in Argentina, Osvaldo migrated to Australia in 1983 as an Architect and worked in that field for a short time. He also held qualifications from the Ibero-American Conservatorium of Music and in 1987 obtained accreditation by the Australian Music Examinations Board and started working as a Piano, Theory and Musicianship Teacher as well as a performer and arranger. His third career change was in 1998 when he graduated from Macquarie University School of Law and set up his own practice as a Licensed Property Conveyancer which he operates to date. He is also the Principal of Rhodes IT, an e-commerce firm. Osvaldo is skilful and experienced in finance and accounting and has over the past 20 years been involved in the management of real property and stock investments. Osvaldo set up Bipolar Australia’s legal, financial, taxation and all other statutory requirements and, from its inception in 2014, he continues to provide his broad-based knowledge and experience, fulfilling the organisation’s legal, finance, management, and accounting requirements.
Dr Daniel Portelli
– Research and Project Management
Daniel Portelli BMus MA (hons) PhD AFHEA is a practice-based researcher, University lecturer, and music composer. Daniel was awarded a PhD in composition from the University of Huddersfield in the UK, and now works sessionally as a unit coordinator and lecturer in music at Western Sydney University (WSU). He is an Associate Fellow with the Advanced Higher Education Academy, which gives him a higher education teaching accreditation. Daniel is also a peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts, working as an Industry Advisor for experimental, contemporary classical music, and the cross-disciplinary arts. His music has been performed by a range of new music ensembles and soloists around the world. Daniel has studied units in the areas of social science and psychology, mainly regarding social work and peer support, with a particular focus on counselling those experiencing mental health challenges.
Alan Bluwol is a volunteer of Bipolar Australia, providing IT services and support. Alan Bluwol is a highly motivated and passionate senior leader, customer engagement specialist and IT generalist with over 12 years of experience in ICT, across multiple industry sectors, including insurance, banking, finance, superannuation, retail and telecommunications. Alan is experienced in delivering end-to-end data and analytics solutions covering technology, data, analytics, digital and cloud.
Alan is a strategic-thinker with a strong interest in new technology, innovation and delivery with a focus on customer impact. Committed to driving value and enabling business strategy through effective application of business and technology architecture principles, methodologies and processes for business execution which has direct and measurable impact.
Alan registered the Bipolar Australia website domain, and deployed and configured the WordPress site, providing Bipolar Australia a digital presence and public accessibility, allowing greater reach and awareness of the foundation, for all Australians needing information and support.