Maddison O’Gradey-Lee, Orygen Global’s youth mental health advocacy fellowship co-founder and advisor, has been recognised for her work in youth mental health by receiving the 2022 Diana Award.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
O’Gradey-Lee said she was honoured to receive the award.
“Growing up, I always admired Diana and her advocacy on topics which were taboo, such as mental health.
“So, to receive an award that has been developed in her legacy and based on her values is truly special,” she said.
Orygen Global is supporting countries and communities around the world to implement youth mental health programs, and supports for the mental health needs of young people locally.
Craig Hodges, director of Orygen Global said this is a very well-deserved award for the work Maddi has been engaged in through Orygen Global from co-founding of the Global Youth Mental Health fellowship to her active participation in advocacy efforts to improving mental health supports available to young people globally.
“We are so very lucky to have her as part of the Orygen team.”
With over 54 hours of content and mentoring support, in 2021 the Fellowship involved over 28 global partners and impacted the lives of 12 young leaders from 12 regions.
O’Gradey-Lee said when she and her colleague Nataya were conducting consultations with young people around the world, they heard the same narrative repeated.
“That young people were out there trying to create change in their communities driven by their lived experience of mental ill-health, but felt unsupported and lacked training in advocacy.
“As part of the Fellowship, we wanted to develop a program which gave youth advocates a community of support and training opportunities,” she said.
Apart from her work with Orygen Global, O’Gradey-Lee is also is a Master of Clinical Psychology/PhD candidate at UNSW and mental health lived experience advocate whose research focuses on improving the assessment of mental health in young people, particularly Indigenous young people.
“Young people are not only our future leaders, but our present leaders, they are leading the change in the mental health space.
“Whilst we still have a long way to go in improving the mental health of young people, there has been so much progress made.
“Working with young people around the world has been one of the greatest privileges and has been instilled upon me and gives me hope for the future of mental health care, advocacy and policy,” O’Gradey-Lee said.