United Kingdom looks to Australia on youth mental health, Patrick McGorry to address the House of Co

United Kingdom looks to Australia on youth mental health, Patrick McGorry to address the House of Commons

20 April 2021

Professor Patrick McGorry will tonight pass on the rich learnings from both Orygen, Australia’s centre of excellence in youth mental health, and headspace, our national platform of integrated youth mental health care, in how best to support young people experiencing mental ill-health when he presents to the UK Parliament’s inquiry into children and young people’s mental health. This invitation recognises Australia’s global leadership as the epicentre in research and treatment of youth mental ill-health alongside a network of collaborative partners around the world.

Administered by the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, the inquiry is specifically interested in novel youth specific models of treatment, designed and branded as headspace, pioneered by Professor McGorry and colleagues originally via Orygen and subsequently via headspace as a unique national platform in its own right, which continues some 15 years later. Professor McGorry said his invitation to speak to the inquiry was further acknowledgment of Australia’s global leadership on youth mental health.

“It is a great honour and opportunity to be asked to give evidence to the inquiry and address the House of Commons online, but it’s also vindication of all of the creative and dedicated work done by so many across Australia through headspace and via Orygen as the innovation hub in researching and developing the early intervention model of youth mental health, and then the implementation through 136 headspace centres across Australia,” Professor McGorry said.   

“We are increasingly seeing the rest of the world looking to Australia for guidance on the models of care for young people experiencing mental ill-health that Orygen and headspace have pioneered together. Similar models have now spread to 12 countries overseas and this is an idea whose time has definitely arrived. The inquiry wants to know how the model works in Australia, how it has created a trusted entry portal for a range of needs to be met in young people and opened up a pathway to more specialised care, which is still in very short supply.” 

Tonight’s address stems from a meeting between the former Health Minister and inquiry chair, the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP, and Professor McGorry in January this year where the headspace model and other integrated youth care models were explained. The inquiry will examine progress made by the UK Government to improve mental health services for children and young people and consider the case for wider reforms to prioritise early intervention and prevention through the assembly of a new tier of youth friendly enhanced primary care involving the ‘One stop shop” concept.

For Professor McGorry a key message is the need to strengthen and build on this base camp of stigma free access with additional tiers of more specialised youth mental health care within Australia and around the world.  He emphasised that codesign with young people is one key pillar of these models with breeds success.

“The recognition abroad is also a timely reminder to Australian governments of all levels that we have world’s best practice originating here, but the job is only half done.  We need to give the “missing middle” of young people too ill and complex for primary care but not desperately ill enough for acute care access to the right level of expertise to arrest the trend of increasing youth mental ill-health.”  

The inquiry will be streamed online tonight from 6:30pm AEST time, with Professor McGorry expected to speak from 7:00pm AEST.

The address can be viewed here:  Parliamentlive.tv - Health and Social Care Committee 

Transcripts and videos can also be accessed at that link after the event.