Politics — 21 December 2012

The WA government has committed $15.3 million over three years for a youth mental health service providing early psychosis intervention and treatment.

The Early Psychosis Youth Centre (EPYC) will be the first of its kind in the state and has been designed to assist about 600 young people aged 15 to 24 years each year.

The EPYC will include a 24-hour, seven days a week home-based assessment service provided by doctors, mental health nurses, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists offering triage, assessment and crisis intervention services.

Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said young people aged 15 to 24 had the highest prevalence of mental disorder of any population group, with 26 per cent experiencing a mental health problem and/or mental illness each year.

She said 75 per cent of all severe mental illness began before the age of 24.

“Developing mental illness in adolescence can result in immediate and long-term negative outcomes for young people that disrupt school, work and social relationships,” Ms Morton said.

“The earlier we are able to intervene, the greater the prospect of reducing the symptoms and recovering from mental illness, which if left untreated, can affect a young person’s entire life.”

The EPYC’s location has yet to be determined but following a tender process, the centre will be phased in over four years from 2014, she said.

The state government is also seeking federal government funding.


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