Targeted primary care-based mental health services for young Australians

Ian B Hickie, Daniel F Hermens and Elizabeth M Scott
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10634
Published online: 4 June 2012

In reply: The detailed demographic, diagnostic and disability data we presented1 responds directly to the critics of headspace clinics. Following the initial establishment phase,1 our two centres now provide services to 390 and 411 young people per month, respectively (data from July to September 2011). Each of the 30 established headspace services now assesses an average of 265 clients per month and, collectively, they have assisted 64 167 young people from mid 2007 to the end of 2011 (data from headspace national office). Although some people do not recognise the extent to which headspace services connect with more young people, the more dispassionate reader is invited to make their own judgement.

  • Ian B Hickie
  • Daniel F Hermens
  • Elizabeth M Scott

  • Clinical Research Unit, Brain and Mind Research Institute, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

We declare that all competing interests relevant to this letter and the original article were disclosed in association with the original article. Funding for the headspace project comes from the Australian Government. The support that the Brain and Mind Research Institute provides for evaluation of these services is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Fellowship to Ian Hickie. Consistent with advice from the Editor of the Journal, we also make the following declarations. Ian Hickie is a member of the Medical Advisory Panel for BUPA Health Insurance (Australia) and also a board member of the Psychosis Australia Trust. From 2012, he is a Commissioner on Australia’s new National Mental Health Commission. Until January 2012, he was a director of headspace: National Youth Mental Health Foundation. Ian Hickie was previously Chief Executive Officer (until 2003) and Clinical Adviser (until 2006) of beyondblue: the national depression initiative. He is supported principally for clinical research in depression and health services and population health initiatives in anxiety and depression by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australia Fellowship (2007–2012). He has led projects supported by governmental, community agency and pharmaceutical industry partners (Wyeth, Eli Lilly, Servier, Pfizer, AstraZeneca) for the identification and management of depression and anxiety. He has received honoraria for presentations of his own work at educational seminars supported by a number of non-government organisations and the pharmaceutical industry (including Pfizer, Servier and AstraZeneca). He has served on advisory boards convened by the pharmaceutical industry for specific antidepressants. He leads a new investigator-initiated study of the effects of agomelatine on circadian parameters (supported in part by Servier but also by other NHMRC funding), and has participated in a multicentre clinical trial of agomelatine effects on sleep architecture in depression and in a Servier-supported study of major depression and sleep disturbance in primary care settings. As well as receiving support from national and international government-based grant bodies, he has been supported by various pharmaceutical manufacturers (including Servier and Pfizer) and not-for-profit entities (including the Heart Foundation, beyondblue and the BUPA Foundation). Daniel Hermens is currently supported by a grant from the NSW Health Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office, as well as by an NHMRC Australia Fellowship (awarded to Ian Hickie). In 2007, he received honoraria for educational seminars from Janssen-Cilag. Elizabeth Scott is the (unpaid) Clinical Director of headspace services at the BMRI, the (unpaid) Coordinator of the Youth Mental Health Research Program at the BMRI, and Deputy Director of the Young Adult Mental Health Unit at St Vincent’s Private Hospital. She has received honoraria for educational seminars related to the clinical management of depressive disorders supported by Servier and Eli Lilly. She has participated in a national advisory board for desvenlafaxine, manufactured by Pfizer.


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