The leadership of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, welcomes the 2018-19 Australian and Victorian Government budgets, released in early May, for their focus on mental health research, suicide prevention, and mental health supports and services for rural and remote communities.
Professor Patrick McGorry, the executive director of Orygen, said this year’s budgets were an opportunity to build a strong foundation for the future mental wellness of all Australians.
“My hope for these budgets is that they will rejuvenate mental health care for all Australians, and especially for young people,” Professor McGorry said. “With 75 per cent of mental illnesses presenting in people before the age of 25, it is vital that particular attention is given to supporting young people who are experiencing mental ill-health, whether this be through the development of new treatments, better access to mental health care or evidence-based suicide prevention responses. I look forward to working with the government to ensure young people’s mental health is a focus of future mental health investment.
Professor McGorry said the Australian Government’s investment of $125 million over 10 years for the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission would contribute to the development of new and effective approaches to mental health prevention, treatment and services for all Australians experiencing mental ill-health.
“This is an important and significant investment that recognises and rewards Australia’s position as a world leader in clinical trials and translational health research,” Professor McGorry said.
For Victoria, Professor McGorry said the Victorian Government’s budget signified its commitment to reinvest in the state’s mental health system.
Professor McGorry said he was especially pleased to see $11.9 million 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.