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Youth Focus announces new Chief Executive Officer

Arthur Papakotsias has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of Youth Focus.

The appointment comes after the resignation in October of Fiona Kalaf, who served more than two and a half years at the helm of the leading youth mental health charity.

Originally trained as a psychiatric nurse, Mr Papakotsias has worked for the past 27 years with Neami National, which provides community-based mental health services helping people to improve wellbeing and live independently.

Since joining Neami National, Mr Papakotsias steered the organisation through significant growth, increasing the business from two staff – himself and a part-time administration role – to a workforce of more than 1000 who support 9000 people across five states.

Youth Focus Board Chairman David Gray said Mr Papakotsias had been the successful candidate in a strong field of contenders for the chief executive position.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Arthur Papakotsias as the new chief executive officer of Youth Focus,” Mr Gray said.

“Mr Papakotsias has demonstrated a great depth of knowledge and leadership in the field of mental health over many years and has a strong track record and professional connections across the sector.

“We firmly believe Mr Papakotsias is the right person to guide Youth Focus as we move towards our milestone next year of 25 years supporting young people in WA and look forward to this exciting new era with vigour.”

Mr Papakotsias said he was excited to take up the new challenge of leading Youth Focus and would work to bring his progressive vision to the not-for-profit as demand for youth mental health services continues to increase.

“I’m thrilled to join Youth Focus and am dedicated to making real differences to the lives of young people in WA,” he said.

Mr Papakotsias said he had an authentic approach to services and was genuinely focused on quality.

“I am a big believer in involving clients in the co-design of the services we provide so we can tailor our offerings to the needs of different local communities and the very people they are designed to help,” he said.

“Youth Focus is a wonderful organisation that does wonderful work supporting young people in WA through its free counselling, regional web-counselling and suicide prevention education. I look forward to helping build these services even further.”

Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with latest statistics showing 51 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in WA in 2017.

Last financial year, Youth Focus supported a record number of young people aged between 12 and 25 in WA, providing free counselling and assessment services to 3678 young people and school and community education to another 6000.

Mr Papakotsias will start his new role in late January 2019.

Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443, [email protected]