From one professor and a small team of dedicated staff, to relationships with 554 organisations in over 50 countries across six continents; as Orygen has grown over the past 30 years, so too has its reach.
Today Orygen’s global partnerships span research, workforce and clinical service development, education, training and advocacy, with the aim of helping organisations and communities meet the mental health needs of young people in their local area.
Director of Orygen Global, Craig Hodges, said that Orygen had encouraged and facilitated an international learning community, allowing innovations to be shared across the world.
“The global community has also taught Orygen so much about the different ways mental health is understood, the contexts that influence the response to youth mental health and the way that we can use our knowledge and skills to assist local youth mental health development,” Hodges said.
Research partnerships have been particularly fruitful, with hundreds of collaborative projects being undertaken with international colleagues over the past 30 years, said Chief of Research, Professor Eoin Killackey.
More recently, significant amounts of international research funding have been granted to Orygen.
“The large amounts of international research funding which Orygen has been privileged to receive validate our unique ability to execute internationally significant youth mental health research,” Professor Killackey said.
Working with policy makers and community-based organisations around the world has also enabled Orygen to contribute to better understanding of youth mental health in a range of contexts, including in low and middle-income resource settings.
Highlights have included partnering with the World Economic Forum to launch a global framework for youth mental health and offering youth mental health fellowships to young people around the globe who are passionate about creating change in their community.
Congratulating Orygen on its birthday, Vice-President of the International Association of Youth Mental Health, Professor Srividya Iyer, said Orygen’s impact around the world had been significant.
“The global influence of Orygen over the last 30 years has been truly massive,” Professor Iyer said.
“Not only in leading the field but creating the networks that have supported the international growth in research into, and implementation of, youth mental health and early intervention models.”
The establishment of Orygen Global and Orygen Institute in recent times has enabled Orygen to further its international partnerships more strategically, with big plans for the future.
Professor Killackey said: “The last 30 years has seen the creation of a field – youth mental health, but there is still much to do to develop youth mental health approaches across all parts of the globe, ensure governments and civil society prioritise young people’s mental health and wellbeing in policy making, and continue to develop and improve interventions that give young people experiencing mental ill-health the very best chance for recovery.”