The evolution of clinical care

The evolution of clinical care

11 October 2022

Young people experiencing mental ill-health have access to care today that is unrecognisable from 30 years ago, when treatment was often far from recovery-oriented.

The Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) was established to provide more tailored, human-centred and effective care than the previously inappropriate approaches and conditions available to young people.

EPPIC since evolved into Orygen, which now provides in-person mental health services to more than 4,000 young Australians every year, with hundreds more supported online.

We work with young people aged 12-25, as this is the age range during which three quarters of mental illnesses first appear.

Our mental health care is evidence-based, underpinned by partnerships with young people and their families and friends, and can be accessed by young people experiencing everything from mild to complex mental illness.

Primary services

Orygen led the creation of primary care platform headspace – the first point of contact for young people experiencing mental ill-health and a one-stop-shop for physical health, alcohol and other drugs, work and study support.

There are now more than 120 headspace centres in Australia. Orygen runs five centres across Melbourne’s north-west and west: in Craigieburn, Glenroy, Melton, Sunshine and Werribee.

More than 190,000 headspace services have been provided to young people since 2013.

Aside from delivering primary care through headspace, Orygen leads a consortium of partners who deliver the Enrich program.

This youth-enhanced service is based in the Macedon Ranges, Melton, Moorabool and Sunbury and operates out of Cobaw Community Health, Djerriwarrh Health Services and Sunbury Community Health.

Specialist services

Orygen also operates a specialist care program run by the Royal Melbourne Hospital, which provides services for young people with more complex needs, including:

  • an inpatient unit;
  • the Orygen at Home program;
  • the Hospital Outreach Post-Emergency (HOPE) presentation program; and
  • forensic youth mental health services.

Orygen also operates and runs Orygen Recovery, a 20-bed Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) service which opened in July 2022.

Bringing it all together

We are now building an integrated service model that will bring together these primary and specialist components, making any level of care accessible to young people across the west of Melbourne.

Professor Andrew Chanen, Chief of Clinical Practice at Orygen, highlighted the importance of young people’s and family members’ lived experience in informing the design and development of this new service system.

“The model that we are developing for these integrated services is accessible, it’s open, it’s welcoming, it’s inclusive of families, of diverse young people,” Professor Chanen said.

“It uses the best available evidence to deliver care to young people when they need it, where they need it.

“We will be able to offer all young people – from their 12th birthday through to their 26th birthday – seamless care for whatever problem they have, at whatever level of severity they have, and meet the needs that they have throughout that important period of development as they navigate the pathway to adulthood.”

We’re committed to building a safe, accessible and responsive mental health system that supports young people to get well and stay well. We won’t stop until we achieve our mission of reducing the impact of mental ill-health on young people, their families and society.