World Economic Forum partnership

Development of a global model for youth mental healthwef-logo.jpg


Orygen is partnering with the World Economic Forum to put youth mental health on the global agenda for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos 2020.

The collaboration is part of the Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare which aims to develop a global youth mental health model and an associated investment framework that accounts for differentials between high, middle and low income countries.

What is the World Economic Forum?

The World Economic Forum is the international institution for public-private cooperation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The Forum’s mission states that it is ”committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.

The Forum believes that global health challenges such as youth mental health cannot be addressed by a single government, industry, company or institution alone. As such, the Forum is applying its organisational capacity - its unique leader-level multi-stakeholder communities, capabilities in convening and facilitation, knowledge resources and interaction technology – to this purpose.

The partnership will enable Orygen to leverage the Forum’s global partnerships and relationships across private, public and government sectors.

The project and its deliverables

The project involves the design and scaling of integrated youth mental health care worldwide.

It is focusing on achieving the following deliverables:

  • A youth mental health model of care developed in consultation with international experts and young people, and with sufficient flexibility that it can be adapted across a range of countries with variable resourcing capacities. Specifically, the model will provide a platform for the public and private sector, as well as civil society, to work collaboratively to deliver evidence-based youth mental health care within a local context.
  • An investment framework indicating the level of public and private investment required across counties with different income levels to ensure optimal mental health outcomes for young people and their families.
  • An economic briefing for governments which will highlight the benefits of investing in youth mental health, the economic impacts of early intervention and its wider influence on civil society.
  • A toolkit to support local advocates of youth mental health engage with the public and private sectors and make the case for local investment in youth mental health care.

Orygen will also contribute to other World Economic Forum mental health portfolio projects that address the following:

  • Mental health and well-being in cities
  • Mental health in the workplace
  • Disruptive technologies in mental health.

The mandate for the mental health portfolio was given by the Health and Healthcare Stewards community – composed of industry CEOs, ministers of health, leaders of international organisations, and world-class experts and academics – and the activities are designed and advanced with input from global experts on mental health.

Who from Orygen is engaged in the project?

Craig Hodges – global project lead: Craig will be based with the Forum in Geneva and will be responsible for the development of the project, deliverables and overall project management; relationship and stakeholder management; interface with key international partners; oversite of related events and meetings and the link between the Forum and Orygen.

Professor Eóin Killackey – academic lead: Eóin will be responsible for the development of the global youth mental health model with support from colleagues at Orygen; engagement with international research colleagues, and the broader academic and research sector; oversight of the investment framework in partnership with consultants.

Vivienne Browne – government relations and advocacy lead: Vivienne will be responsible for supporting the development of resources that translate this work for public and private sector audiences. This includes the economic briefing for governments, and the advocacy strategy and toolkit to support individuals and organisations lobby for increased investments in youth mental health.

Who from the World Economic Forum is engaged in the project?

Vanessa Candeias – head of the Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare: Before joining the Forum, Vanessa worked with the Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion of the World Health Organization headquarters, the Directorate General for Health in Portugal and the Institute of Preventive Medicine at the University of Lisbon. Vanessa will supervise the project from the Forum’s side.

Peter Varnum – lead, global mental health: Peter will be responsible for leading the development and execution of the project from the Forum’s side. He leads the Forum’s work on global mental health, developing and executing global-scale projects and fostering a multi-stakeholder community of actors focussed on the topic. His work includes developing this youth project as well as others related to mental health and cities, the workplace, and disruptive technology.

Project governance

The project will be governed by a small steering group at Orygen consisting of: Professor Patrick McGorry (executive director), A/Professor Rosemary Purcell (director of research and translation), Kerryn Pennell (director, strategy and development), Craig Hodges, Professor Eóin Killackey, Vivienne Browne and two young people – Maddi O’Grady and Nataya Branjerdporn. This group will regularly connect with the Forum’s Peter Varnum.

Youth engagement

Critical to the project will be the engagement and participation of young people. Young people will be widely consulted in many different countries across the globe with regards to the development of the model.

Consultation will include in-person and online focus groups with young people. The project will also work with members of the Forum’s Global Shapers community – a community composed of young people between 20 and 30 who have an active interest in mental health.

For more information, please contact