Meet Maria, a SHLEAC founding member

Introducing Maria Dimopoulous, one of the founding members of the Spiritual Health Lived Experience Advisory Committee (SHLEAC)

“Spirituality is an important part of our lives; we know this to our core. It is imperative that spirituality is included in person centred care.”

Maria Dimopoulous was raised in the Greek Orthodox church, however these days her spiritual expression leans more towards Buddhism. Then in the next breath she states that her true sanctuary is the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), for as an artist, she is passionate about looking at art, learning about art and making art … “as an artist the NGV is my temple, this is where I find my spiritual expression and inspiration.”

Maria is a Greek-Australian writer and visual artist born in Melbourne, who describes herself as a shy child who was persuaded by an art teacher at the age of 18 to apply for a Fine Arts degree. She commenced study in 1987 at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University. In her second year of studying, she was diagnosed with Bipolar 1. Despite these challenges Maria went onto study Art Curatorship and Museum Management at University of Melbourne and is currently completing a Certificate IV in Mental Health at Swinburne University.

In 2004, Maria began her lived experience advocacy work, which has included a long-term collaboration with the Victorian Transcultural Mental Health Service. Maria has an incredible capacity to remain positive despite struggling at times to sustain her mental health. Maria states that she feels peace within herself when she is with trusting loyal friends. She says that "peace of mind, heart of gold, gentle soul and kind heart" all provide her with tranquillity.

Her latest collection, ‘Voice of Resilience – Public Speaking and Art Practice’ contains her life’s work, where she encourages people to experience life, enjoy what you love, and work towards balance.

“I am excited to be a part of SHLEAC and to advocate for long overdue recognition of spirituality and spiritual care. This is so important to people’s felt sense of wellbeing and cannot be ignored any longer. I am totally dedicated to this work.”

Please visit Maria’s website at https://mariacontact.com/


SHLEAC formed in June 2021 to raise awareness through leadership, education and consultation of the need, importance, and place of spiritual care in mental health care. SHLEAC will achieve this by contributing to the Victorian Mental Health Reform process via the principles of co-design and co-production. As the host organisation, Spiritual Health Association welcomes the expertise and guidance from the advisory committee members. SHA e-news readership will get to meet other members of SHLEAC in future additions.