A message from Professor Patrick McGorry

A message from Professor Patrick McGorry

12 October 2022

This month Orygen celebrates 30 years of transforming youth mental health locally, nationally and internationally. In recent times we have embraced the concept of revolution to reflect our collective mission of reform: “Revolution in mind."

Our revolution is inclusive and seeks to be a continuous one, sustained not only by hope and passion but also by logic, science, collaboration and growing political and public support. A revolutionary mindset inevitably involves courage and risk. It is uncompromising yet must be pragmatic.

The following quote from French President Emmanuel Macron captures this and resonates well with the history of mental health reform: “Taking risks is a part of life. Wishing that away is to start lying to yourself … and to give in to the gloom. Succumbing to indifference, to the morose, to the day-to-day – that is the gravest risk. You only change things by taking risks, you only build things by taking risks.”

Orygen’s 30-year anniversary is a momentous milestone which began with early intervention for psychosis and has spread across the spectrum of mental ill-health.  This has involved a series of conscious and deliberate reinventions of our preventive approach to youth mental health care. We explore this continuing revolution through our thirtieth birthday articles:

Our achievement is a collective one, built upon values-based and participatory leadership from a number of unique individuals at Orygen, within Australia and all around the world; the immense dedication of our staff, past and present; as well as sustained contributions and support from The University of Melbourne, the Colonial Foundation, Melbourne Health; and our many government, philanthropic and business funding partners.

In partnership with all our collaborators – and enabled by research discoveries and innovations in prevention, early intervention and care – we have translated knowledge and skills into better mental health care for young people in many parts of the world.

We look forward to continuing to work with all our fellow “revolutionaries” to fight to ensure that all young people can access the care they need when, where and how they need it, for as long as they need it. We are committed to supporting them to recover and flourish as they grow into adulthood.

This is a task that requires both patience and impatience. The celebrated North American First Nations singer/songwriter and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie captured the essence of Orygen’s journey so far: “Things change a little bit at a time and in my lifetime, things have not changed enough, but when I look back … things have changed incredibly.”