Sonja brings over 30 years of experience, with background in nursing, researching, teaching and supporting mental wellbeing. She is passionate about the intersection of physical and mental health and is well known across Aotearoa for leading significant government and community initiatives in disability and mental wellbeing, trauma-informed care and suicide prevention from both clinical and lived experience. Sonja is the current Principal Disability Advisor at MSD.
A message from Sonja
Tēnā koutou. Ko Mt Dandenong te maunga. Ko Port Phillip Bay te awa. Ko Qantas te waka. Ko Sonja Eriksen toku ingoa. No ahiti reiria ahau, engari kei Aotearoa toku ngakau! I whakapapa back to Australian roots, but I have lived in this beautiful motu for 30 years and my heart and soul are well and truly attached to this whenua. I have previously worked in consultancy; academia as a Research Fellow (University of Otago School of Medicine); for a number of different government agencies (including the first Mental Health Commission; Human Rights Commission; Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice);and a range of NGOs before moving to MSD a year ago. From personal experience, I know what it is to live with multiple physical and mental health challenges; and am passionate about understanding the ways in which our physical and mental wellbeing come together in the development of our sense of self and identity.