17 November 2010 Mental health experts Professors John Mendoza and Patrick McGorry and mental health advocate Jan Kealton are today briefing parliamentarians on the need to take immediate action to provide more resources for mental health care in Australia.
Professors Mendoza and McGorry and Ms Kealton all support the motion currently before the Parliament calling on the government to expand the headspace and EPPIC models across Australia.
The motion to boost mental health services has already been passed by the Senate and should be voted on by the House of Representatives tomorrow.
Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton today called on the Independents in the House of Representatives to support the motion which aims to provide help to an additional 200,000 Australians across the age spectrum.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said mental illness particularly affected young people and early intervention was vital to provide those who suffer mental illness with the best chances of overcoming their illness.
Media contact: John Wiseman – (02) 6277 4884 or 0429 983 618 or Margot Date (02) 677 3345 or 0407 485 907
Jan became a passionate advocate for mental health after her only son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1995.
Her son died in a tragic confrontation with police on the Gold Coast in 2005. The Queensland Coroner found that the mental healthcare system had failed her son over many years.
Jan has participated on a number of mental health committees at the local and state levels for the last decade and is a current member of the Statewide Mental Health Network in Queensland, the Community Mental Health Partnership Forum and the Alcohol, Other Drugs and Mental health Collaborative in Queensland.
PROFESSOR PATRICK McGORRY
Professor McGorry AO is a leading international researcher, clinician and advocate for mental health reform.
Professor McGorry is Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health, a world-renowned mental health organization for young people that has put Australia at the forefront of innovation in the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Orygen targets the needs of young people with emerging serious mental illness, including first-episode psychosis and has become the model upon which many other youth mental health services in the world are based.
Professor McGorry is also a director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace). He believes that early intervention offers the greatest hope for recovery and therefore takes every opportunity to educate the community to recognize the early signs of mental illness, without stigmatizing or discriminating.
Professor McGorry was named as Australian of the Year in January 2010 in recognition of "his extraordinary 27-year contribution to the improvement of the youth mental health sector [that] has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people the world over."
Professor McGorry was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in June 2010.
PROFESSOR JOHN MENDOZA
Professor John Mendoza is a leading advocate, working at the national, state, and local level to encourage decision-makers to invest in real mental health reform and suicide prevention. He has played a key role in raising the political profile of mental illness and suicide.
As the inaugural chair of the National Advisory Council of Mental Health, he delivered clear advice to government officials as to how to respond most effectively to suicide in Australia and how to improve accountability and in turn ensure results across the mental health system.
Later, as CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia, he critiqued government policies and worked with agencies to improve their response to mental health issues. He was instrumental in the latest Senate inquiry into suicide, collaborating with Senators and relevant organizations to create a list of meaningful recommendations and to ensure the utility of the process.
He has also authored a new, seminal report on suicide and its impact in Australia.