Minister visits Brain and Mind Research Institute
29 September 2010
The Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney recently hosted a visit by the Hon Mark Butler MP, the newly appointed Minister for Mental Health and Aging.
The BMRI's Executive Director, Professor Ian Hickie, briefed the Minister on the Central Sydney headspace program and explained the benefits of locating the program in a University interdisciplinary research setting.
"This provides those who attend the service with unique access to new treatments through our partnered clinical research program," he said.
"Conversely, it provides youth mental health students and researchers with access to an active clinical setting."
Professor Hickie also explained that the current level of program funding was not keeping up with the demand for these unique services.
"Staff from the headspace centre and associated youth mental health services, including South Sydney Youth Services, Inspire and Youthblock, provided the Minister with a wider perspective on youth and youth mental health services and challenges associated with the grossly underfunded youth mental health sector."
Young people who have received assistance from the centre, and in some cases their parents, provided their own perspectives to the Minister. While full of praise for the service offered at the BMRI, they also highlighted the need for more equitable funding of youth mental health and the inclusion of education and employment support services.
"Waiting at home each week to see my psychologist isn't enough", one young woman told the Minister, "I need help to stay at school and get a stable job."
The University of Sydney operates two headspace sites through the BMRI, one at Camperdown (Central Sydney) and the other in Campbelltown in South-Western Sydney.
While providing people aged between 12 and 25 years of age with access to mental health assessments, the services also provide unique settings for testing our novel clinical research-staging model, developed in association with Australian of the Year, Professor Pat McGorry.
The Central Sydney service is located in the Youth Mental Health Building at the BMRI, which was developed in 2009 with NSW state government funding. The building is a purpose-built facility for co-located youth mental health services, clinical research and research laboratories.
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