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Parliamentarians rally for youth mental health

Media Release
Penny Wright 25 Feb 2014

A cross-parliamentary group to raise awareness for youth mental health will launch tonight at Parliament House with the support of almost 40 members of parliament.

Established by Australian Greens mental health spokesperson Senator Penny Wright, the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health will work with mental health bodies to develop a multi-partisan understanding of the specific mental health needs of young people.

"From body image to cyber bullying, today's young people face a lot of pressures," Senator Wright said.

"Each year, around 14 per cent of those aged 12 to 17 and 27 per cent of those aged 18 to 25 will experience a mental health challenge, yet only one in four will receive professional help.

"I was inspired to start this group after meeting Nicole Gibson, from the Rogue and Rouge foundation, who spoke so passionately about the need for parliamentarians to hear directly from youth about the challenges they face.

"This group is an opportunity for MPs of all political persuasions to get together and learn from youth, their families and service providers about what we can be doing to support our young people."

The Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health is co-chaired by Senator Penny Wright (Australian Greens), Senator Louise Pratt (Labor), Dan Tehan MP (Liberal) and Cathy McGowan MP (Independent).

Over 20 mental health NGOs are affiliated with the Parliamentary Friends group including Young and Well CRC, Headspace, Orygen Youth Health, Rogue and Rouge, Beyond Blue, SANE Australia and the Mental Health Council of Australia.

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