l’Optimisme and youth mental health: has it attained Voltaire’s ‘best of all possible worlds’?

Stephen Allison, Tarun Bastiampillai, Jeffrey C.L. Looi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Youth mental health has been politicised by high-profile health advocates, and often leads the Australian national policy agenda. The ensuing debate is being conducted at multiple levels: scientific, clinical, economic and political. These levels interact, and we explore how scholars’ experiences with early intervention (EI) shape their roles as health advocates and political lobbyists. Conclusions: Health advocacy influences major government decisions. EI researchers have been successful as health advocates in Australia, attracting substantial government funding for selected youth mental health programmes. Positive experiences with the short-term gains of EI might encourage the necessary optimism amongst researchers for successful health advocacy. However, as medical experts, clinicians are aware that most patients and carers face a huge burden from schizophrenia, even after high-quality EI. These patients require fully integrated and well-funded mental healthcare across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-118
Number of pages3
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date22 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • health advocacy
  • medical experts
  • psychiatrists’ roles


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