AN EXPERT panel of health and welfare professionals, including world-leading psychiatrist Professor Patrick McGorry, will head a public forum in Mornington to tackle the high rate of mental health issues in young people in the region.
The forum is being run by Peninsula Voice, a not-for-profit group of community bodies, and will provide practical information on how to discuss and deal with mental health in young people and where help can be found on the peninsula.
Speakers will include former Australian of the Year and world-leading researcher in early psychosis and youth mental health, Professor McGorry, psychologist Dr Diane McGreal, and Peter Dawson from Headspace Frankston.
Professor McGorry is well known for his development of early intervention services for youth experiencing symptoms of psychosis.
Peninsula resident Kerri McMillan will share her personal experience of mental illness in her family and its devastating consequences.
Figures from the state’s mental health intake service, Neami, put the two areas ahead of some of its biggest neighbours when it comes to mental health.
Peninsula Health operations director Sharon Sherwood told The News late last year that the demand for mental health care on the peninsula, particularly among young people, had been steadily rising for the past decade, with most patients requiring long-term treatment.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released last year have revealed youth suicide had reached a ten-year high. The 2010 ABS report gave a snapshot of mental health in young people in Frankston, with 16.2 per cent of secondary students having very high levels of psychological distress, higher than the state average by 4 per cent.
Almost seven out of every 1000 young people on the peninsula were hospitalised with a psychiatric condition, slightly higher than the Victorian average. In Frankston, it jumped to around nine out of every 1000.
The forum, ‘Young people and mental health: helping young people stay (mentally) healthy’, will be at 6.30pm, Wednesday 8 March at the Peninsula Community Theatre, cnr Wilson Rd and Nepean Hwy, Mornington.
See peninsulavoice.org or call 0407 887 864 for more details.