FORMER Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry says Colac has taken an important step in easing the “silent suffering” of young people with mental illnesses.
The leading mental health advocate attended the launch of Colac Area Health’s new Youth Health Hub yesterday.
The Federal Government and Colac Area Health will begin building the $1.3-million centre on the corner of Colac’s Hart and Miller streets within the next year.
The Hub will offer a range of youth health services, including mental health, youth development and alcohol and drug support.
Professor McGorry said it was important to provide health services in “a youth-friendly environment”.
“The aim should always be to have a multi-disciplinary service in a place where young people feel comfortable to go to and it is somewhere that they trust,” Prof McGorry said.
“Too many young people are going undiagnosed with mental health issues, and this is a threat to their futures, as well as their lives in some cases,” he said.
Prof McGorry is a found-ing board member of Headspace, a national youth mental health foundation which has 30 centres across the country.
Colac Area Health has long-campaigned for federal Headspace funding and Prof McGorry said the model would work well in Colac.
“Colac is one of the best places in respect to community leadership and people who are passionate about getting these sorts of programs off the ground, and that is the key,” he said.
“The Headspace model works – there are waiting
lists at those centres for mental health support which you wouldn’t have at traditional hospitals and health centres.
“There is a demand for that sort of support across the entire country and Colac is no different.”