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Christopher Pyne, Helen Christensen, Patrick McGorry & Alastair Campbell: The Politics of Mental Health

Half of all Australians will experience mental ill-health in their lifetime. The prevalence of mental illness in young people is on the rise. The World Health Organization confirms that depression will overtake heart disease as the number one cause of disease burden worldwide by 2030. Yet mental health receives only 2% of the global health care budget, and even in countries like Australia, awareness and rhetoric outstrip funding by miles.

Providing appropriate mental health services for people who need them should be the number one priority in health care, so why is it so hard for people with mental illness to get a fair deal?

With unique insight into the workings of government, and lived experience of mental illness, British journalist and political aide Alastair Campbell has become a leading advocate for action on mental health in the UK.

Campbell was joined by a panel of experts including Helen Christensen from the Black Dog Institute, Patrick McGorry the Executive Director of Orygen and ex Liberal party MP Christopher Pyne to share ideas on what can be done to improve mental health service provisions and outcomes for all Australians.

Stigma is real and it has a genuine real effects on policymaking.

Alastair Campbell

The problem with mental health in Australia is that we don’t feel it fits with our national character.

Christopher Pyne

The government's failure to understand scale of mental health issue is the biggest problem.

Patrick McGorry


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Photo credit: Prudence Upton

This conversation was chaired by dual-walkley award winning investigative reporter Sarah Dingle and was presented in partnership with Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

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