29 October 2019

A report developed by EY and commissioned by Future Generation has found the mental health sector needs to provide clarity and measurable outcomes to better motivate philanthropists and corporates to back mental health.

Released today, Australia’s mental health crisis: why private funders are not answering the call found that 85 per cent of private funders believe Australia is facing a mental health crisis; yet only 28 per cent directly and consistently invest in mental health causes.

Orygen’s executive director Professor Patrick McGorry said philanthropists and corporates were poised, ready to take action on Australia’s mental health crisis and are now seeking clearer messaging and solutions from the mental health sector to transform the landscape.

“We’re extremely grateful for forward-thinking corporates such as Future Generation,” Professor McGorry said. “They’re willing to take risks and understand the value in supporting early intervention for the greatest impact.”

Professor McGorry said philanthropy was crucial to the mental health funding model.

“Orygen, as a translational medical research institute, and indeed Australia as whole, has benefited from the catalytic support of the Colonial Foundation. Their support allowed for the creation of the evidence base and the clinical service prototypes, notably headspace, which prompted government to release its working capital to scale up mental health reform to reach all young Australians.

“Government funding follows where philanthropy has blazed the trail. Philanthropists understand that you’ve got to have a blue-sky approach,” Professor McGorry said. “It is a virtuous cycle of which we have seen many recent examples. The world is at last realising the huge opportunities that exist for progress in mental health care and research.

“The sector needs to get better at formulating innovative solutions that have clear logic and expertise behind them and then banding together to support their implementation. Funding scarcity has been an impediment to this as most of the sector is in survival mode. We need a level playing field and a fair deal, which this EY report strongly supports. We’re also trying to achieve equity through collaboration and organisations such as Australians For Mental Health.”

The report can be downloaded at