Youth mental health in Western Australia is reaching a crisis point. Hospital beds are crowded, services have dangerously long waiting lists, and mental illness is affecting our young people at alarming rates. For young people aged 15 to 24, suicide is the leading cause of preventable death.
We know that mental health discriminates. Social determinants of mental health mean that those experiencing disadvantage, discrimination, and trauma all experience mental illness at higher rates than the general population, and statistics around our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are deeply alarming.
When we’re spending billions of dollars on new infrastructure, how do we justify our comparatively little spend on mental health? How do we make spending in other areas work to achieve wellbeing outcomes across the board?
We’ve been dealt a difficult hand – let’s get smart about playing it.