MEDIA STATEMENT

The Final Report released today by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System sets a generational roadmap to improve youth mental health. Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic), the peak body for young people and the youth sector, is pleased to see a dedicated chapter on youth mental health and endorses the final report and the recommendations.

This includes specific recommendations to ‘establish a dedicated service stream for young people’ and to ‘review, reform and implement new models of multidisciplinary care for bed-based services for young people’ which will build compassion and connection.

“The Royal Commission is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the mental healthcare system so that it works for everyone. We thank the Royal Commission for taking the experiences of young people and youth workers seriously and acknowledging the strong case for investment into youth mental health and wellbeing,” says Katherine Ellis, CEO of YACVic.

“A world-leading mental health system is even more important now, with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on young people’s mental health. Young people’s lives have and continue to be severely disrupted by job losses, remote learning, lost rites of passage and social isolation, and many young people genuinely fear for their future,” says Ms Ellis.

YACVic supported hundreds of young people and youth workers to connect with the Royal Commission and share their experiences, ideas and vision for a better mental health system.

Jennifer Rowan, YACVic Lead Facilitator and young person from Camperdown who worked on YACVic’s consultations says “a good mental health system can save lives.”

“There are limited youth mental health services where I’m from, which are often inaccessible due to poor public transport options in the area. I am hopeful that our new mental health system will address the unique needs of young people in these areas.”

Mark Yin, YACVic Facilitator and young person from Melbourne hopes that mental health can become more accessible.

“The Royal Commission has had a cultural impact in demonstrating how mental health is something we can and should grapple with. But there is still so much stigma, particularly for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

“We need genuine investment in various communities to ensure they have the resources and improved support to make our mental health system a far-reaching, accessible and proactive one.”

YACVic looks forward to continuing work with the Victorian Government and Mental Health Reform Victoria to implement the important recommendations in the Final Report and ensuring young people’s lived experience and expertise are recognised in design and delivery of the reformed system.

Media contact: Thomas Feng, YACVic Media and Communications Manager, 0431285275

Four young people are available to speak up as case studies and expert interviews. Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO and Luke Rycken, YACVic Policy Manager are available for interviews and analysis.

About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and youth workers in Victoria. Our vision is that the rights of young people in Victoria are respected, and they are active, visible and valued in their communities.