Youth mental health: is anybody listening?

Date & time

28 July 2011

The panel


Ms Julie McCrossin talks to people for a living. After 20 years as a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, ABC TV and Network Ten, she is now a freelance journalist and facilitator. She presented the radio show Life Matters on ABC Radio National for 5 years, covering countless health, welfare and educational topics with a frequent rural focus. Ms McCrossin was also a team leader on the media quiz show “Good News Week” for 5 years on Network Ten and ABC TV. She began working for the ABC in 1983 and she’s presented many Radio National programs, as well as stints on ABC Rural Radio and 702ABC Sydney.


Professor Patrick McGorry AO is Australian of the Year 2010 and Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health (OYH), a world-renowned youth mental health organisation. He is also Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and a founding board member of headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. OYH comprises Australia’s largest youth mental health research centre and a clinical service targeting the needs of young people with emerging serious mental illness, including first-episode psychosis. With an emphasis on early intervention and a commitment to educating the community to the early signs of mental illness, Professor McGorry’s extraordinary 27-year contribution has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people the world over. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine and to mental health in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2010.

Professor Ian Hickie AM is the inaugural executive director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney. His research, clinical and health services development work focuses on expansion of population-based mental health research and development of international mental health strategies. Professor Hickie was made a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Fellow in 2008. Along with Professor McGorry, Professor Hickie is a founding board member of headspace. In 2000, Professor Hickie was appointed as the inaugural chief executive officer of beyondblue, the national depression initiative, and from 2003 to 06 served as its Clinical Advisor. In 2006, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to medicine in the development of key national mental health initiatives and general practice services in both the public and non-government sectors. Professor Hickie was appointed to the Federal Health Minister's National Advisory Council on Mental Health in 2008.

Professor Helen Christensen is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health Research at The Australian National University (ANU) and an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. She is the author of over 250 refereed journal articles, seven books for the general public and four self-help websites. Her areas of interest include: the evaluation of internet programs for the prevention and treatment of mental disorders, the integration of new technologies into health care, the development of evidence-informed health policy and methods to measure the impact and dissemination of prevention programs.

Mr Robert Wells is the Director of the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute and Menzies Centre for Health Policy at ANU. He is a former first assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Ageing where he was involved in research policy, Commonwealth/State relations, health workforce, rural health programs, safety and quality and programs for better management of major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and mental health. He managed the Commonwealth's health workforce programs from the early 1990s. He chaired the Medical Training Review Panel and represented the Commonwealth on the Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee (AMWAC), the Australian Health Workforce Officials Committee (AHWOC) and the Australian Medical Council (AMC). Mr Wells has chaired a number of workforce committees established under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers Council, including working parties on national medical registration and specialist medical training and has represented Australia internationally on medical workforce matters.

Ms Carla Frost is a university student from Melbourne who is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Social Work & Bachelor of Psychology degree. As a teenager, Ms Frost experienced symptoms of psychosis and depression that led her to receiving support from Orygen Youth Health. Ms Frost is currently employed at Orygen as a Project Worker, encouraging other young people to get involved and take an active role in guiding service development and delivery.


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