A whole of community partnership approach to meeting the economic and social challenges of youth mental health

Oliver Burmeister, Jo Banes, H Clark, D Citer, Sharon Grocott, Edwina Marks, M Mulrooney, Shane Thomas

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Improving mental well-being is an important factor in the global picture of economic participation, future leadership and in addressing the social determinants of health for youth. The potential loss to the global economy due to the lack of participation of youth experiencing mental health issues, both socially and financially, is an international issue. The OECD reports that the median age of onset across all disorders is around 14 years of age with 75% of all illnesses being developed by age 24 (OECD, 2012). Left untreated, these problems become chronic, adversely affecting society and individuals. However with early recognition, the majority of mental illnesses can be effectively treated or managed, therefore the importance of evidence based effective programs through a whole of community approach is critical for both early intervention and ongoing management. This is reflected in a Council of Australian Governments recommendation that “It is imperative that mental health continues to have the direct support of the Prime Minister and Premiers and Chief Ministers. Cross-government oversight is vital. Without links between housing, employment, education, health, family and child support, justice and corrections we will never give people the best chance of recovering and living contributing lives.â€� (Lourey, 2012) A new initiative facilitating engagement and commitment from the whole-of-community including Local, State and non-government organisations including mental health professionals, utilises a collaborative partnership model to deliver a Youth Mental Health Forum (YMHF). It originated in North Sydney covering two metropolitan regions and has been replicated across three regional communities (see Table 1), demonstrating that with G20 endorsement, international replication may be possible.The YMHF, focusing on de-stigmatisation, is aimed at empowering young people to make positive changes to their lives through increased access and uptake of services, ultimately improving co-ordination and streamlining services to reduce duplication so that they are more effective and relevant to youth. The YMHF aims to have a positive impact on education systems by building strategies into school strategic plans and creating avenues for systemic change in addressing youth mental health issues. The YMHF demonstrates a whole of community investment to empowering young people with the ability to create positive change to attitudes toward mental health and wellbeing in their school, social life and home life. Provision of broad Mental Health information and communication strategies placed firmly in the hands of our young people, leads to developing a supportive environment which can improve existing services and help to overcome this significant barrier to employment and education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYouth & Education
Subtitle of host publicationchallenges of the future
Place of PublicationSt Petersburg, Russia
PublisherG8 and G20 Alumni Association
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventG20 Youth Forum - St Petersburg, Russia, Russian Federation
Duration: 17 Apr 201321 Apr 2013


ConferenceG20 Youth Forum
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation


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