Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Hydrogen Industry; Tourism; Science

    Taking action on mental health to support young people

    16/12/2020 1:30 PM
    • More than 40 immediate actions to support our young people during COVID-19 and beyond
    • Young People's Priorities for Action 2020-2025 outlines the way forward
    • Think Mental Health multi-media campaign launched tomorrow

    Expanding the telehealth emergency response services, piloting a one-stop shop system and working closely with local government and sport and art clubs are just some of the new initiatives the McGowan Government are progressing this year to tackle the growing issue of mental health for young people in Western Australia.


    Concerned with the number of distressed parents and carers, Mental Health Minister Roger Cook committed 2020 to listening and learning from parents and young people through a series of forums and webinars on youth mental health.


    As a result, the McGowan Government fast-tracked the Young People's Priorities for Action 2020-2025 as a matter of urgency to outline the way forward for improving youth mental health and reducing alcohol and other drug harms in WA.


    The YPPA is the blueprint for not just Government, but for how everyone in the community who can play their part to help support our young people.


    It highlights the critical part that families and communities play and that young people must be at the forefront of decision making regarding services, their treatment and recovery.


    Earlier this week, the Chief Psychiatrist's Review into the Treatment of Ms Kate Savage by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services was released - another catalyst that reinforces the McGowan Government's commitment to urgently changing the way young people's mental health is treated and supported.


    The Review also highlighted the need for services and initiatives from prevention and early intervention all the way through to the more acute services to better support very unwell young people. 


    A direct initiative raised by parents at the Minister's forums was the need for a mental health campaign that supports parents and carers.


    The new parenting campaign will be rolled out across TV, online, social media, outdoor media and cinema tomorrow. It has been adapted from a successful, evidence-based campaign from the UK, using the voices of 12 Australian celebrities including actress and children's entertainer Justine Clarke, former cricketer Adam Gilchrist and Premier Mark McGowan.


    Demand for youth acute mental health services has increased by 15.3 per cent over four years[1], and the WA Recovery Plan highlighted that our young people have been further hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.


    The development of the Young People's Priorities for Action included a literature review of current evidence and trends, and consultations with 162 young people and 85 family members and carers through surveys, group forums and one-on-one interviews undertaken by the Youth Affairs Council of WA.


    Service providers, government agencies and peak bodies were engaged to provide their input through workshops and direct meetings, and the process was overseen by a Directors-General Steering Committee, the Mental Health Executive Committee and the Community Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Council.


    Approximately three in ten young people aged 16 to 24 years in WA experience a mental health issue or mental illness each year, the highest prevalence of any population group[2].


    It is estimated that 75 per cent of mental illness starts before the age of 25 and poor mental health costs the Australian economy up to $18 billion in reduced quality of life.


    In a crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14, for free counselling call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, and to find local mental health services visit http://www.myservices.org.au


    For more information about the Young People's Priorities for Action 2020-2025 visit http://www.mhc.wa.gov.au/yppa


    Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the needs of young people with mental health, alcohol and other drug issues was a priority.


    "I have heard, met with and listened to the stories and experiences of young people, parents and carers that have sought help from services throughout WA.


    "Whether it has been at webinars or community forums, personal conversations or correspondence, my message to all those people is that we are listening to you.


    "It is more important than ever to support the young people around us during this vital time in their lives.


    "Thank you to every single young person that contributed to the Young People's Priorities for Action 2020-2025, it is brave to share your stories and your voice, but I want to make clear that it will make a difference.


    "The YPPA will guide the State Government and the Mental Health Commission and the sector in supporting and responding to the mental health and AOD needs of young people aged 12 to 24 years.


    "It covers priority areas across the whole spectrum of care from prevention to treatment.


    "We have found, above all, that young people want to be a driving partner in the support and treatment they receive.


    "We have found, above all, that young people want to be heard.


    "Additional work will be occurring in the future to look more closely at the needs of the 0 to 11 years age cohort."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500


    [1] Mental health-related emergency department presentations for young people aged 12 to 24 across WA have increased by 15.3% since 2015-16.

    [2] The Australian Bureau of Statistics 'National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing' found that young people aged 16 to 24 years in Western Australia have the highest prevalence of mental health disorder of any population group, with approximately three in ten (30.7%) experiencing a mental health issue and/or mental illness each year.