Orygen, Australia’s flagship youth mental health facility, was opened in Parkville today by the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP.
The facility is home to Orygen, Australia’s unique integrated translational research institute and innovative platform for preventive clinical care in young people. Orygen is redefining what’s possible in youth mental health and is the global leader in this new field. The new facility creates a platform for building the youth mental health field on a scientific evidence base and creating new ways of working with young people.
The executive director of Orygen, Professor Patrick McGorry, said the facility was unique worldwide, with the largest concentration of researchers, clinicians and educators anywhere, all focused on integrating global research, policy and education with evidence-based clinical care, with young people and families contributing at every level.
“At Orygen we bridge research with clinical care like no other mental health organisation in the world; so we can take on challenges no one has been able to before,” Professor McGorry said.
“A youth mental health facility of this quality enables us to better meet the needs of the young people aged 12-25 who come to Orygen for expert multidisciplinary care for their mental ill-health. To ensure this we consulted with the young people, as well as their families and friends, who would be using the facility. More than 140 young people provided advice on the design of our new building. You can see the results of their input in everything from the building layout and the design of the consulting rooms through to the colour of the furnishings and the gender-neutral bathrooms ”
The new facility is the result of a $78 million partnership between the Victorian Government and Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. The Victorian Government contributed $60 million to make the project a reality. The intention was to support Orygen as a leading Victorian medical research institute but one with a difference: it is embedded with state and federally funded mental health services. The partnership was augmented by additional contributions from The Colonial Foundation ($5 million) and the University of Melbourne ($5 million) and further support from the Australian Government ($5m), and The Ian Potter Foundation ($3.8 million).
“Mental ill-health is, by a long way, the most significant health challenge faced by young people and threatens not only their survival but also their productive futures,” Professor McGorry said. “Between the ages of 12 and 25 most of the mental illnesses that can blight decades of adult life appear for the first time; however with early intervention the survival rates and long-term outcomes for these young people can be vastly improved.
“Governments are starting to recognise their opportunity to invest more strongly in youth mental health to strengthen our society and reap substantial returns on investment.
“Through partnerships with the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, with the Wellcome Trust and The Lancet in the UK, and with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Orygen is recognised as the world leader in improving mental health outcomes for young people. The provision of these modern facilities for our research and clinical work is an essential development for Orygen’s continued national and international leadership in youth mental health innovation.”