A long-running supporter of the Border's Winter Solstice event and tireless campaigner for mental health reform has been honoured with a national excellence award.
Former Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry was awarded one of the National Health and Medical Research Council's highest honours on Tuesday night.
He will receive more than $900,000 to continue his work to improve interventions and models of care for young people with mental illness.
Professor McGorry was one of the keynote speakers at the inaugural Albury-Wodonga Winter Solstice Survivors of Suicide event in 2013 and again in 2015.
The founder of headspace was also a vocal advocate and mentor for The Border Mail's Walkley Award-winning Ending the Suicide Silence campaign.
He has previously said the winter solstice gathering had the potential to lead to others across Australia to shine a light on the discussion and prevention of suicide.
Winter solstice co-founder Stuart Baker, who sits on the Australians for Mental Health board with Professor McGorry, said the award for this "fearless" campaigner was well-deserved.
"Pat is a passionate advocate for improving mental health services in Australia and across the world," Mr Baker said.
"He wants to change the landscape regardless of political or other obstacles.
"He is a caring and hands-on advocate who is involved every day at the coal-face; as a psychiatrist he fully understands the problems faced in mental illness."
Mr Baker said Professor McGorry maintained strong links to the Border and only recently had intervened to help an at-risk young man.
"He is a beautiful man who is saving lives," he said.
"He deserves any accolade that comes his way."
Professor McGorry is considered a world leader in youth mental health research and is currently the executive director of youth mental health organisation Orygen.
"I remain committed to developing new models and evidence-based interventions, treatments and service systems for young people in order for them to enjoy optimal mental health as they grow into adults," he said after the award.