For all young people to enjoy optimal mental health as they grow into adulthood

IMPACT AREA: Health and wellbeing for all

Over one million young Australians suffer from mental illness annually with 75% of those suffering mental illness displaying symptoms before they’re 25. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44. Orygen is Australia’s leading youth and mental health organisation, combining research, clinical programs and training. Orygen works to deliver cutting-edge research, policy development, innovative clinical services, evidence-based training and education to ensure that there is continuous improvement in the treatments and care provided to young people experiencing mental ill-health.

Orygen would like to herald a new paradigm – one in which mental health and physical health is integrated and the goals are: symptomatic remission, functional recovery AND physical wellbeing.

The founder Professor Patrick McGorry, was awarded Australian of the Year in 2010, for his extraordinary 27-year contribution to the improvement of the youth mental health sector.  Orygen works both nationally and locally. In Victoria, they provide clinical services in the North West and West of Melbourne through the four headspace centres they operate.

The Morris Family Foundation has funded a two year study titled Physical Health for Mental Health. The study is to assess the extent to which an individualised treatment package involving physical health interventions improves a young person’s physical health outcomes.  The aim is to then promote and leverage study results and success, encouraging new clinical practice guidelines.

The life expectancy of people with mental illness is almost 20 years less than the rest of the Australian population. 77% of this premature death is due to poor physical health, yet the current treatment model neglects a young person’s physical health.  An individual’s mental health recovery is considered a success if they have symptomatic recovery (mentally healthy) and functional recovery (back to work or school, stable relationships with friends and family), managing physical health outcomes often become a ‘second order’ issue.

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