Orygen and the World Economic Forum launch blueprint to improve mental health globally

Orygen and the World Economic Forum launch blueprint to improve mental health globally

27 May 2020

Orygen, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, today launched A Global Framework for Youth Mental Health: Investing in Future Mental Capital for Individuals, Communities and Economies in a concerted and coordinated effort to improve the mental health of young people globally.

The framework development began in January 2019 and has involved extensive global consultation and engagement with leaders across mental health, government, international NGOs, and the private sector. The project also engaged and consulted with young people from around the world to ensure it reflected their current experiences, challenges and needs.

Alongside the framework a number of documents have been produced through Orygen’s partnership with the forum - an investment framework and an advocacy toolkit, developed in partnership with young people. The toolkit has been designed to support local communities make a case for investing in youth mental health within their own regional contexts.

Orygen executive director Professor Patrick McGorry said youth mental health was a global issue that brought with it a massive emotional, physical and economic toll that affects young people, their families and communities.

“This is now further impacted by the disastrous effects COVID-19 is having on the lives of young people and their families,” Professor McGorry said.

“Although youth mental health integration and reform has commenced and has momentum in several high-income countries, the situation globally remains fragmented and lacks sufficient political will to transform the landscape of care and health economics. This is what makes this global framework so critical,” Professor McGorry said.

The Global Framework for Youth Mental Health is based on eight principles of youth mental health:

  • rapid, easy and affordable access;
  • youth specific care;
  • awareness, engagement and integration;
  • early intervention;
  • youth partnership;
  • family engagement and support;
  • continuous improvement; and
  • prevention.

Globally, young people have the worst access to mental health care despite mental ill-health being the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes for young people aged 10-24 years.

The global lead of the Orygen/World Economic Forum partnership, Craig Hodges, said youth mental health systems and services had particularly emerged in high-resource settings over the past two decades. “However, nearly nine out of 10 young people worldwide do not live in countries where youth mental health is considered a priority nor is it resourced with the necessary infrastructure and workforce,” Mr Hodges said.

“The framework and advocacy toolkit provide tools that can support young people and their communities make the argument for the change that is needed,” he said.

Professor McGorry said the partnership between Orygen and the forum would continue throughout 2020 with the next steps to include identifying countries and regions wishing to invest in youth mental health and supporting them to implement the Global Framework for Youth Mental Health.

“Ultimately, we want to see all young people the world over being able to access the mental health care in their local communities that they need to ensure they lead long and fulfilling lives,” Professor McGorry said.