Beyond Blue chair Jeff Kennett to be replaced by former PM Julia Gillard.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been named the new chair of mental health advocacy organisation Beyond Blue, replacing former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.

Ms Gillard has served on the board of the depression and anxiety initiative since 2014.

 The not-for-profit service offers counselling and support for people suffering mental illness, including a help line.

The prominent organisation was formed by Mr Kennett in 2000, and he has been its chairman since then.

When Ms Gillard joined the board, Mr Kennett praised her appointment and emphasised the need for the organisation to remain bipartisan.

Mr Kennett said the organisation was “part of his DNA” and had been preparing for leadership change for the past three years.

“The board were looking for a person who had a natural attachment and interest in matters to do with mental health, who had a very clear position of strength in trying to argue and advocate against discrimination in all its shapes and forms,” he said.

“We wanted a person who we knew was clearly articulate … we also wanted someone who could open doors, be they political or commercial.

“The great strength of Beyond Blue over the last 17 years is the fact that it’s been bipartisan. It belongs to no-one or no political party it exists only to serve a broader community.”

Ms Gillard’s mother worked as a psychiatric nurse, and the former PM has said she has always had a passion for assisting people with mental health problems.

She will take up the role on July 1.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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