About Jo

Policymaker & Evaluator

Hi, I’m Jo! It’s great to meet you.

Policymaker and evaluator Melbourne

My story

Having a mental illness has given me some of the hardest times in my life, but it has also given me strength and the passion to do what I do.
I’ve experienced mental ill-health, suicidality and the impacts of trauma for most of my life. My experience has been that finding support in a complex system can be elusive. 
Alongside the messy stuff happening in my brain, I began to forge a career as a health policymaker and evaluator. In the early years of my career, I focused my efforts on developing health workforce systems that delivered the best patient outcomes in the best way for the health system.
I soon realised that the personal and the professional didn’t have to be separate, and turned to my passion of creating health and social systems that work for people with mental illness and trauma. I combine my lived experience with excellent technical skills to deliver value for my clients.
Jo Farmer is a Policymaker and evaluator Melbourne in the mental health field.

Why work with me?

Thanks for getting this far! By now you’re probably wondering what skills and experience I have in this area and weighing up why you should work with me? These are great questions and the answer is simple.

I am uniquely placed to deliver excellent policy and evaluation work that combines my professional and personal experience.

As I touched on, my life has been effected by my own mental illness and of the loved ones around me. On top of that, I have ten years of working in the health and social services sector.

I’m a policymaker and evaluator focused on improving health and wellbeing, particularly for those who experience mental illness and complex disadvantage. I have worked as an internal evaluator with Beyond Blue, the RACGP and Justice Connect, as well as consulted with numerous government departments, PHNs and not-for-profits. You can find out more here.

The community and those with lived experience are at the heart of my work. As someone who combines lived and professional experience in my own work, I recognise the value of genuine engagement and collaborative design that balances evidence with the needs of consumers and those of delivery agents to deliver long-term, meaningful change.


✓ Evaluation design and delivery utilising a range of methodological approaches

✓ Evaluation capacity building, including support to develop theories of change, evaluation frameworks and data systems

✓ Qualitative research, including literature reviews, interviews and focus groups

✓ Quantitative research, including survey design, delivery and analysis

✓ Designing and delivering collaborative design and stakeholder engagement approaches

✓ Program and system design

✓ Organisational strategy and workforce development

✓ Policy writing, including position statements and business cases

✓ Mental health subject matter expertise

Acknowledgement of country

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I live, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded and I look forward to a day when the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is heard so Australia faces up to the pain inflicted by ongoing colonisation and the strengths of its Aboriginal past, present and future.