The Australian Government’s $110 million investment in clinical services for young Australians who are showing early signs of psychosis has been welcomed by the staff of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.
The funding, announced earlier this week by health minister Greg Hunt will continue the Early Psychosis Youth Services program at 14 headspace centres across Australia.
The program has been operating since 2015 through headspace centres across Australia and is an early intervention service established to improve the lives of young people, and their families, who are affected by psychosis.
Based on the EPPIC (Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre) model of care pioneered by Orygen, the program recognises that young people with early psychosis and their families require a holistic approach to care and provides comprehensive and expert support in every aspect of a young person’s life, including education, employment and relationships.
Young people experiencing complex mental ill-health are a vulnerable and often neglected group who require expert and comprehensive specialist mental health care, said Professor Patrick McGorry, executive director of Orygen.
“We welcome Mr Hunt’s announcement to extend the funding of this vital service,” Professor McGorry said. “This commitment will go a long way to ensuring that young people with complex mental health needs and their families are supported and given the timely service and treatment they require.
“Research shows us that intervening early, when young people show signs of psychosis, greatly improves treatment outcomes and bolsters the capacity of young people to fully engage with their lives.”
There are currently 14 early psychosis program sites nationally, located in headspace centres in south-east Melbourne, central Adelaide, Darwin, western Sydney, northern Perth and western Sydney. Young people can stay within the service for up to five years, depending on their need.
“headspace, as the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, is a natural environment for these programs to be located,” Professor McGorry said. “The headspace model enables easy access and youth-friendly services for young people and their families, and provides the right environment to foster recovery for young people experiencing very complex mental health issues.
“This funding extension will allow Orygen to work collaboratively with headspace to continue to deliver expert care to young people living with severe mental ill-health, to offer support and holistic treatment options to young people and their families, and demonstrate that recovery is possible.”