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Prevention new focus for funding youth mental health

August 12th, 2022

A focus on youth mental health prevention is at the heart of a new initiative that aims to tackle the growing issue of mental wellbeing among young Australians.

Future Generation Global (FFG) announced this week 14 new impact partners who will focus on prevention and wellbeing of youth mental health.

FFG is one of the nation’s biggest private funders of youth mental health. Its CEO Caroline Gurney said: “The current funding of mental healthcare is not working. We need to start tackling the root causes behind the alarming increase in youth mental conditions, distress, and suicide ideation.’’

Currently, only one per cent of combined government mental health expenditure goes to prevention. The most recent data reveals the extent of the youth mental health predicament – almost 40 per cent of Australians aged 16-24 had a 12-month mental disorder in 2020, according to the latest National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. In 2006 that figure was only 26.4 per cent. 

Ms Gurney said Australia had a strong track record in reducing the human cost of many conditions – including skin cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes – by investing in prevention. “We are certain that by beginning to front-load more of our investment in mental health, similar advance can be made in the youth mental health space,’’ she said.

The new partners are spread across the country, with more than 30 per cent of them based in regional areas. The partners are: Back Track, Big hArt, Happy Paws Happy Hearts, Human Nature, I CAN Network, Mind Blank, Prevention United, Project ROCKIT, ReachOut, Smiling Minds, WANTA, The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health, Youth Live4Life and Youth Opportunities.

Future Generation Global’s Social Impact Manager Emily Fuller said: “By offering multi-year support to these organisations, we believe we will make a pivotal difference for young people and their mental health across Australia – and, in doing so, optimize the impact of our donations.’’

The company has been developing a framework that will enable it to track each partner’s progress and their collective impact in wellbeing and prevention.

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