The leadership of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, welcomes today’s budget announcement, which signifies the Victorian Government’s intent to reinvest in the state’s mental health system.
Professor Patrick McGorry, the executive director of Orygen, said he looked forward to working with the government to ensure the funds allocated to a number of crucial mental health projects were distributed appropriately.
The Victorian Government’s budget announcement included an additional $41.9m to meet mental health clinical services demand across Victoria, $18.7m to expand the hospital outreach post-suicidal engagement initiative, and investment in primary mental health services in youth justice centres.
Professor McGorry said it was particularly pleasing to see $11.9 million had been allocated to establish a youth Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) service in north-west Melbourne.
“There are approximately 6000 young people aged 12-25 living in the north-west of Melbourne who are experiencing severe mental illness, and demand for mental health services is far beyond the current capacity of the mental health system,” Professor McGorry said.
“Orygen and Orygen Youth Health, as the only services providing specialist youth mental health care to young people with severe and complex mental health problems in the north-west, are keen to see this youth PARC established, so we can start seeing the benefits for young people who are becoming mentally unwell or are in the early stages of recovery from an acute psychiatric episode.”
Professor McGorry said although it was encouraging to see that the government had started to lay the foundations to reverse years of underinvestment in mental health in Victoria, the release of the 2018-19 budget was only the first step.
“We know that young people experiencing mental ill-health experience higher rates of suicide, homelessness, unemployment and reliance on welfare payments. It is therefore vital that the government invest in coordinated and integrated youth mental health services, which will deliver significant benefits to the economy and the community,” he said.
“The Victorian Government’s generous capital support for the construction of Orygen’s new facility, to be opened later this year, provides a unique opportunity to deliver this coordinated and integrated approach. We look forward to discussing with the government how the full potential of this facility, which will provide advanced mental health care to young Victorians living in north-west Melbourne, will be realised."