Dr Barbara Disley is Chief Executive of Emerge Aotearoa, a large national mental health, and drug and alcohol NGO. Barbara has worked in a number of non-government organisation Chief Executive roles including the Mental Health Foundation and Richmond Fellowship. Barbara was the inaugural chair of the Mental Health Commission, leading the development of the first Mental Health Blueprint. She was Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Education where she had responsibility for special education.
Barbara was a member of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service, the forum set up for people who had been abused while in State Care in New Zealand, and chaired the Review of the Sensitive Claims area of ACC, which supports victims of abuse. Over the past year Barbara was a member of the Inquiry Panel set up by the Government to review mental health and addictions. In 2011 Barbara was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to mental health.