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Why isn’t providing adequate mental health services a no brainer?

Half of all Australians will experience mental ill-health in their lifetime. The prevalence of mental illness in young people is on the rise. The World Health Organization confirms that depression will overtake heart disease as the number one cause of disease burden worldwide by 2030. Yet mental health receives only 2% of the global health care budget, and even in countries like Australia, awareness and rhetoric outstrip funding by miles. Providing appropriate mental health services for people who need them should be the number one priority in health care, so why is it so hard for people with mental illness to get a fair deal? 

With unique insight into the workings of government, and lived experience of mental illness, British journalist and political aide Alastair Campbell has become a leading advocate for action on mental health in the UK. He will be joined by a panel of experts including Patrick McGorry (Orygen, Executive Director) and Helen Christensen (Black Dog Institute, Director and Chief Scientist) to share ideas on what can be done to improve mental health service provisions and outcomes for all Australians. 

Presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Orygen: The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. 

    


UNSW Centre for Ideas

The UNSW Centre for Ideas presents a thought-provoking program of events and digital content from the globe's leading thinkers, authors and artists. An initiative of UNSW Sydney, the Centre is a new platform to champion the critical place of universities in leading open and informed debate.

 

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health

Orygen is the world’s leading research and knowledge translation organisation focusing on mental ill-health in young people. Orygen’s work has created a new, more positive approach to the prevention and treatment of mental ill-health, and has developed new models of care for young people with emerging disorders. This work has been translated into a worldwide shift in services and treatments to include a primary focus on getting well and staying well, and health care models that include partnership with young people and families.

 

Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell is a writer, communicator and strategist best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Still active in politics and campaigns in Britain and overseas, he now splits his time between writing, speaking, charities and consultancy. He has written 14 books in the past ten years including a personal memoir on depression and the pursuit of happiness. Campbell is an ambassador for the Time to Change campaign to raise awareness about mental illness, ambassador for Alcohol Concern, patron of Maytree, the country’s only charity for the suicidal, and of Kidstime, which supports the children of mentally ill parents. He co-founded the all-party campaign, Equality4MentalHealth which secured an extra £600 million for mental health services. In 2008, Alastair featured in an award-winning one-hour documentary, Cracking Up on BBC2 about his own breakdown in 1986. Both the film and his first novel, All In The Mind, won considerable praise from mental health charities and campaign groups, which lead to his appointment as Mind Champion of the Year in 2009.

 

Panellists  

Helen Christensen

Scientia Professor Helen Christensen is a health and medical researcher specialising in suicide prevention, e-mental health and mental health epidemiology. Since 2012, Prof Christensen has been the Director and Chief Scientist of the Black Dog Institute and Professor of Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney. The Black Dog Institute is Australia’s only independent medical research institute which focuses on mental health across the lifespan. Black Dog translates the latest globally recognised research into evidence-based clinical services, education, training and e-mental health tools for people, workplaces and schools across Australia.

 

Patrick McGorry

Professor Patrick McGorry is the Executive Director of Orygen, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, and a Founding Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace). He is a world-leading researcher in the area of early psychosis and youth mental health, and has been directly involved in research and clinical care for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers. His work has played a critical role in the development and research of safe and effective treatments for young people with emerging mental disorders, notably psychotic and severe mood disorders. He has also played a major part in the transformational reform of mental health services to better serve the needs of young people with mental ill-health. He is frequently asked to advise on early intervention and youth mental health policy both nationally and internationally.

 

Auslan

The Centre for Ideas can provide Auslan interpreting services for selected talks upon request. To discuss an Auslan service, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 1000 or email centreforideas@unsw.edu.au. For information about other access services, please see the City Recital Hall accessibility page.

  • Speaker
    Alastair Campbell
    Panellists
    Helen Christensen
    Patrick McGorry