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Media Statements : Statement Details

Hon Helen Morton MLC

    Early psychosis youth centre first for WA

    Thursday, 20 December 2012
    • $15.3m State Govt funding across three years for EPYC
    • Early intervention and treatment of severe mental illness for young people
    A new community-based, dedicated youth mental health service providing early psychosis intervention and treatment in a youth-friendly environment is planned for Perth.
    The Early Psychosis Youth Centre (EPYC) is the first centre of its kind in Western Australia, specifically designed to each year assist about 600 young people aged 15-24 years, by intervening early in the development of psychosis and mental illness and reducing its negative consequences to young people, their families and carers.
    An important component of the EPYC is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week flexible, home-based assessment service provided by a multidisciplinary team, including a skill mix of doctors, mental health nurses, psychologists, social workers and/or occupational therapists offering triage, assessment and crisis intervention services.
    Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said young people aged 15 to 24 years had the highest prevalence of mental disorder of any population group, with 26 per cent experiencing a mental health problem and/or mental illness each year and 75 per cent of all severe mental illness beginning before the age of 24.
    “Developing mental illness in adolescence can result in immediate and long-term negative outcomes for young people that disrupt school, work and social relationships,” Mrs Morton said.
    “The earlier we are able to intervene, the greater the prospect of reducing the symptoms and recovering from mental illness, which if left untreated, can affect a young person’s entire life.”
    The Mental Health Commission has carriage of funding and commissioning the EPYC which is based on the nationally recognised early psychosis model of care implemented by Orygen Health in Victoria.
    The EPYC’s location will be determined as part of the implementation process and following a tender process, the centre will be phased in over four years from 2014.
    “The WA model will have strong inter-agency linkages with a wide range of Commonwealth-funded services such as headspace and primary care, as well as State-based programs in mental health, drug and alcohol, child protection and corrective services, ranging across both Government and community service providers,” the Minister said.
    Mrs Morton said EPYCs were currently being negotiated with the Federal Government with a cost sharing and implementation agreement hoped to be finalised in 2013.
    “While we intend to seek agreement with the Federal Government to partner with us on further EPYC services, the Liberal-National Government has made a clear commitment of $15.3million over three years to further develop youth mental health services,” she said.
          Fact File
    • Liberal-National Government is determined to change the way mental health services are delivered to young people and has allocated an additional $6.54m to community mental health services for children and youth
    • EPYC is a further step in development of a comprehensive youth mental health service
    Minister's office - 6552 6900