Designing Youth Mental Health Services for the 21st Century, Examples from Australia, Ireland and the UK

Mcgorry, P., Bates, T., & Birchwood, M. (2013). Designing youth mental health services for the 21st century: Examples from Australia, Ireland and the UK. The British Journal of Psychiatry. Melbourne, Victoria: Royal College of Psychiatrists

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Despite the evidence showing that young people aged 12–25 years have the highest incidence and prevalence of mental illness across the lifespan, and bear a disproportionate share of the burden of disease associated with mental disorder, their access to mental health services is the poorest of all age groups. A major factor contributing to this poor access is the current design of our mental healthcare system, which is manifestly inadequate for the unique developmental and cultural needs of our young people. If we are to reduce the impact of mental disorder on this most vulnerable population group, transformational change and service redesign is necessary. Here, we present three recent and rapidly evolving service structures from Australia, Ireland and the UK that have each worked within their respective healthcare contexts to reorient existing services to provide youth-specific, evidence-based mental healthcare that is both accessible and acceptable to young people.