Building wellbeing amid permacrisis at Embrace panel discussion
Embrace Co-Director Professor Helen Milroy has called for communities to build a mountain of wellbeing around young people at a panel discussion held at the State Library Theatre on Thursday 9 November.
Moving beyond crisis: how youth mental health research can build a better future, was held by Embrace in partnership with Rio Tinto and attended by over 120 people.
“We have to build our mountain of wellbeing, so that the sun always shines light on our children and creates safety for the future,” Professor Milroy said.
Our mountain has to have the right story. It has to be within strong relationships, understanding context through a cultural lens, a responsive service system with trauma-informed and competent care, with collaborative systems within the most important thing of all – a compassionate society – so that we can say that once upon a time, all children grew happy healthy and nurtured, strong.
A panel was chaired by Telethon Kids Institute Director of Strategy Cath Elliott and featured Associate Professor Bep Uink, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Pradeep Rao and Embrace Youth Community Group member Midaiah Harnett. The panellists also addressed some of the more pressing problems facing the mental health of WA infants, children and young people.
“When we talk about access, we see some key issues over services, costs,” said Embrace Youth Community Group member Midaiah Harnett, an advocate for greater accessibility to services for young people.
“But another issue is about knowledge of services, and that’s not just for the young people knowing about mental illness, knowing when to reach out and who to reach out to, but also within the medical community there’s a responsibility on practitioners to know about mental health, about how mental health appears in youth and adolescence and about the appropriate services. I think that’s another barrier we see to access. Sometimes we really do have to advocate to our mental health teams or find the right practitioners to get the support required.”
Associate Professor Bep Uink, an Embrace 2022 Research Award winner, added that we must take a community approach to our services.
“I think we can have services that sit there that young people just don’t go to, they don’t walk into – and it’s not their responsibility to walk into them as that’s very intimidating – it’s our responsibility to walk to them.”
An Embrace priority-setting project completed in late 2022 determined that accessibility to mental health services was one of the community’s top priorities for youth mental health research. You can read more about the findings, and how they informed the Embrace strategy, here.
Embrace Co-Director Professor Helen Milroy and Luke McPherson.
Panelists Dr Padeep Rao, A/Prof Bep Uink, Midaiah Harnett and A/Prof Jeneva Ohan.
Telethon Kids Institute Deputy Director Professor Catherine Elliott.