Mr Smith attended the Murrumbidgee Local Health District 2023 excellence awards in Wagga Wagga last Friday.
More than 200 staff and guests from the district attended The Range function centre to congratulate the winners.
Mr Smith is the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services Coordinator for Aboriginal Peoples.
He has over 13 years experience working in clinical roles, case management, management, clinical leadership and strategic leadership roles.
Over the last 12 months Mr Smith has been instrumental in the implementation of the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
He has also taken a lead role in the implementation of the Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Program.
Mr Smith is committed to the mental health and drug and alcohol care of local health district residents and to closing the gap for First Nations people.
He demonstrates leadership, empathy, and courage wherever he works.
As Team Clinical Leader and then Team Manager at Deniliquin Community Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Service, he led a service that had a holistic approach to mental health care.
It is one that addressed not just the physical symptoms of illness, but also emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
His dedication, attention to detail and passion for helping others has inspired many to follow in his footsteps and make a difference in the lives of those with lived experience with mental health, including patients, carers and families.
Upon winning the award Mr Smith said he was “extremely humbled” and credited his team as a massive part of his work.
“While it is amazing to be recognised individually, I could not do the work I am doing without the team I work with.
“The local team of 300-400 strong across a large district have contributed collectively to this award,” he said.
“Moving forward we want to continue to provide support and continue to be innovative in moving towards excellence.”
MLHD Interim Board Chair Adrian Lindner paid tribute to award winners for their tremendous contributions.
“It is a pleasure to be able to pay tribute to our award winners, who are working hard every day to make a difference to the lives of people in our region,” Mr Lindner said.
“We have seen example after example of MLHD staff and volunteers who embody the values of excellence, innovation and collaboration which help improve the lives of people in their care.”
MLHD Chief Executive Jill Ludford said it was an enormous pleasure to present Nigel Smith with the Staff Member of the Year Award.
“Over the last 12 months Nigel has been instrumental in the implementation of the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy,” she said.
“Nigel is also taking a leading role in the implementation of the Dialetical Behavioural Therapy Program.
“It’s been such an honour to celebrate so many high calibre nominees this year,” she said.
“And rewarding too, to see the number of activities happening across our district with sincere efforts to support our First Nations communities.”