On the Couch with Maria Katsonis

Maria Katsonis oncWho is Maria Katsonis?
I’m an unconventional Greek girl with a passion for public policy who lives with a mental illness.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Nothing.  My life has changed completely as a result of my mental illness – I no longer sweat the small stuff and I make the most out of every single day.

Who inspires you and why?
Rosie Batty who uses the power of one to effect social change.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Continue my work as a mental health advocate to smash the stigma of mental illness.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A toss up between the metropolis of New York and a secluded sea-side cottage.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
To Point Ormond lookout on the Elwood foreshore to eat fish and chips while watching the sun set. For an unassuming hillock, it has spectacular views of Melbourne’s skyline.

What are you currently reading?
Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought about why women need wives and men need lives. Garry Disher’s Bitter Wash Road, a gritty police procedural.

What are you currently listening to?
The meows of my portly puss as he hovers by his empty food bowl.

Happiness is?
The simple things in life like spending time with my gorgeous nephews.

What does the future hold for you?
Wonder and joy.

Maria Katsonis began her career in the theatre, managing companies such as Anthill and Theatre Works. She then became an independent arts management consultant and theatre producer, touring shows to Asia, Europe, and South America.

After a decade in the arts, Maria decided it was time for a career change and became a bureaucrat. She is currently the Special Adviser, Productivity and Delivery in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and a public policy lecturer at the Melbourne School of Government.

In 2008, Maria experienced a severe episode of depression and was hospitalised for over a month. She now lives with an ongoing mental illness and has become a vocal advocate for mental health. She is a beyondblue Ambassador and a consumer advocate with Mental Health Australia. Maria has a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and was named a Lucius Littauer Fellow for academic excellence and commitment to public service.

Her memoir, A Good Greek Girl will be published in April by Jane Curry Publishing. For more information, visit: janecurrypublishing.com.au or mariakatsonis.com.au for details.

Image: Maria Katsonis by Sarah Walker