Official Opening of ClearThinking Queensland Youth Assessment Centre
Thank you Michael. Federal Member for Ryan Jane Prentice, members of the Clearthinking Board and Advisory Council, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the warm welcome you have extended to Kaye and me today.
I was very pleased to be invited to become Patron of ClearThinking last year when I was appointed as Governor, and I’m particularly pleased that my first duty as Patron is to officially open this marvellous new Youth Assessment Centre.
For me, vice-regal Patronage is an important civic responsibility. It allows me to speak out on behalf of organisations whose voices may not be as clearly or loudly heard in the community as they should be — smaller organisations, like the Queensland Schizophrenia Research Foundation, whose work is vital but which face the constant challenge of raising sufficient funds to realise their dreams.
This facility is the result of a concerted effort by the Foundation and I congratulate the Board on their success in establishing this critical addition to the services available to combat the scourge of mental illness among young Queenslanders.
The statistics are, frankly, shocking, but once we accept that one in every two Australians — fifty per cent of us — will experience at least one mental health disorder before the age of twenty-five, we must also accept the obligation to take action, and the Foundation is leading the way through the ClearThinking initiative.
I must say I have been very impressed by the re-branding adopted by the Foundation. Mental illness is heavily stigmatised in Australian society and schizophrenia has fared particularly badly, due largely to the myth of the ‘split personality’ and its perpetuation through literally dozens of movies, most of which have negatively portrayed the condition. I saw this a lot as a Judge, as I imagine did your Chairman over his lengthy and distinguished term as a Magistrate.
Naming the initiative ‘ClearThinking’ removes it completely from those negative perceptions and puts the focus where it should be — not on the disorder but on the need to give young sufferers a clearer, better future.
The Foundation is committed to leaving no stone unturned in finding solutions to the complex youth mental health cases in Queensland. I hope this will be the first of many such centres where clinical practitioners and researchers can work closely together to provide the interventions and improved quality of life so urgently needed by young people suffering from complex mental disorders.
It is now my privilege, as Patron, to declare this ClearThinking Youth Assessment Centre officially open and to wish the Foundation every success for its future operation.