NEEDED: Youth Peer Worker for Jacaranda Place

If you’re a young person with lived experience of mental illness who has experienced recovery, you can – with specialised training – support others with mental health difficulties by providing hope and modelling positive strategies and outcomes.

The new Extended Treatment Centre for young people at Chermside in Brisbane will have a number of Peer Workers and Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) have just begun advertising for an:

 Advanced Peer Worker (Youth)
(click above to go to job listing)

As well as sharing your own lived experience and life stories, you will encourage self-awareness and self-determination in those at a different stage of recovery. You’ll be part of the development, planning and delivery of support services to consumers, carers and families and your capacity to model recovery strategies will allow service providers and Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) to develop a better understanding of the best framework to achieve positive outcomes for young people and their families.


There are healthcare staff and education staff and other people with qualifications and skills who can help young people with mental health issues. But no one has the expertise of a young person who has lived experience.

Being a Peer Worker in this field is an incredibly valuable role. Not only do you know better than most how it feels to be in the position of the young people who’ll need Jacaranda Place … but you know that the most important people in the lives of young people can be OTHER young people. You’re not at a distance considering what their life might be like. You’re them but just further along the recovery path. So a Peer Worker at the new centre will be a key member of the team.

To find out more, go to the job advertisement by clicking here.

There, you can also access the Role Description and a general Information package about working for Children’s Health Queensland (the Hospital and Health Service responsible for the new AETC).

If you’re in recovery and you feel you could help others along the way to a better future, consider applying for this position.

You could make a real difference in the lives of people who need to know it’s possible.

Times Like These

For those suffering from mental health issues, what’s happening in the world right now will be particularly challenging. The unpredictability. The change. Those are the kryptonite of the anxious.

The ‘unprecedented’ nature of the current situation might feel overwhelming. But as I think about the courageous young people I have met and heard about over the last 7 years, I can’t avoid the fact that they have resources of tenacity and strength that I previously didn’t know existed.

This is indisputably true.

It’s not empty flattery or encouragement. It is a fact.

I once wrote a children’s story about what ‘brave’ is. The message is simply that brave is feeling fear and still trying. And young people with severe mental health issues do that every day. Just when they think they’ve felt the worst that they could feel, their brain throws a curveball and it seems like maybe the thought or feeling right now is even worse than that. That’s the nature of mental illness.

And yet, these amazing young people keeping going.
They put one foot in front of the other.
They breathe in. They breathe out.
And time passes.
And something that might not have seemed possible happens … 
One day they realise that they don’t feel quite as bad as they did.

That they’ve done some things and maybe interacted with some people.
And they might just have reached the other side of that torrent of fear. 

Not in an instant. 
Not like a switch turning off.
But gradually, bit by bit. Getting through it.

That is what will happen with the coronavirus and the measures needed to minimise its impact.

This will end, every pandemic and epidemic will end.

The world will get to the other side.

It might feel to so many that there have never been ‘times like these’ before. So reassurance can feel empty. But there have never been times like any particular time period. There has never been another minute like the minute that just passed. Never been a Christmas like last Christmas.  Every time is history is unique. So this one, in that respect is no different.

So we can’t overlook that:

  • there has never been a time when science and medicine have been so advanced.
  • there has never been a time when knowledge can be so quickly shared.
  • there has never been a time when we could stay at home AND see our friends via a screen AND discover how to make a snack from the things that had disappeared into the pantry’s black hole. AND play video games with someone on the other side of the world AND think of our favourite movie and then watch it on a phone AND join a universal quest to be the most impressive at throwing paper into a bin.
But interestingly, there is an exception to this rule of unique times.
An important exception that can’t be denied.

If you are one of those young people who has had challenges and got to the other side, you can’t ignore the fact that you have done this before.
That you have felt the weight and pushed through it.
That you have experienced that eternal internal scream that eventually hushed.
That you have got through before. So you will get through again.

Because you have the strength and the skills to do it. Even when you think you don’t.

You’ve proved it already. You’ve done it already. (And there others around you who might not have.)
You have the EXPERIENCE and the RESOURCES.
And never forget that you have the SUPPORT.
You have people who are sending you their strength and their love and their energy.
People you know. And even people like me who you don’t know.
But mostly you’ve got the COURAGE. Based on the clear definition, you are BRAVE.
So you’ve got this one.
Just breathe in. And breathe out. 
And FaceTime a friend.
Watch a Koala on Livestream while you listen to some soothing music.
Tell your grandma a joke on Facebook.
Download an app that’ll make cuisine from the ingredients you’ve got (or just go ahead a make that m&m sandwich)
Think of someone you can help just by staying where you are.

You know you can do it.

So tell someone else that they can too.

And we’ll all get to the other side together.

Wanted: Consumer Carer Senior Consultant for Jacaranda Place AETC

A key role is being advertised for the new Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre (AETC), Jacaranda Place, at Chermside.

The CONSUMER CARER SENIOR CONSULTANT will be vital in ensuring that young people and their carers and families continue to be able to play an active role in the way the centre  functions and evolves to best meet the needs of those accessing its services.

Some of the essential job details follow here but the full position description and application information can be found at https://smartjobs.qld.gov.au/jobs/QLD-H20CHQ337404

Position status Permanent
Position type Flexible part-time
Occupational group Administration
Classification AO5
Workplace Location Brisbane – North
Job ad reference QLD/H20CHQ337404
Closing date 02-Mar-2020
Salary Other $44.37 – $48.28 p.h.
Job duration
Contact person Emma Hart
Contact details 33109559
Access the National Relay Service

The Consumer Carer Senior Consultant will promote and give guidance to the development and ongoing management of consumer participation and provide ‘systems advocacy’ in relation to consumer, carer and family related issues by:

    • Ensuring consumer, carer and family perspectives are included in all aspects of mental health service planning, delivery and evaluation
    • Assisting staff of the Queensland Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre in its aim to provide a person and family-centred service.
    • Communicate the broad views of consumers, carers and families to mental health services and other relevant services.

Children’s Health Queensland HHS will be your employer should you be successful in being appointed to this role.

Apart from contributing to the development of this vital and growing Hospital and Health Service, they state that you will also benefit from a competitive remuneration package and a working environment which embraces professional development, builds capabilities and supports staff to maximise their health and wellbeing. Additional benefits include:

    • Up to 12.75% employer superannuation contribution
    • 17.5% annual leave loading
    • Salary packaging
    • Employee Assistance Program
    • Work/life balance, variety and flexibility

So, if you’re considering applying for this role, please go to https://smartjobs.qld.gov.au/jobs/QLD-H20CHQ337404
where you can access pdf versions of:

the AO5 Consumer Carer Senior Consultant Role Description
and
the Information Package for Applicants

Co-design of the facility was just the beginning. The model of care that is utilised to treat young people and support them and their families – and the delivery of the education program along with the many other components that the new Jacaranda Place has the potential to provide – must meet the needs of those it was built to support. Even as needs evolve and change and new challenges arise for the cohort.

This new centre cannot be all that it has the opportunity to be unless there is effective ongoing communication from those using the centre and from those for whom the centre would have served to make a difference had they had access to it. And a Senior Consultant whose focus is to facilitate that input, ensuring it reaches those who can enact changes and advancements, is a role on which ongoing collaboration hinges. This position is one that will genuinely rewarding as it is one that will truly make a difference.

So please share this widely to ensure that the best possible candidates apply.

New AETC named Jacaranda Place

Today, as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited the completed statewide Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre (AETC) at Chermside with Health Minister Stephen Miles and the member for Stafford, Dr Anthony Lynham, she announced that the facility was to be called Jacaranda Place. (Ten News First’s coverage – accessible by clicking here – has a full report and footage of the exterior and the interior as the Premier tours the finished centre.)

PremierTweetJacarandaPlace

The final design of the centre has been the result of extensive input from a large number of consumers and carers with lived experience of severe and complex mental health issues in young people following the closure of the Barrett Centre in 2013/14 and the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry into that closure.

Jacaranda Place is a 12 bed inpatient facility that will also house a Day Program allowing young people to transition appropriately to and from treatment services. This means there were always be more than 12 young people utilising the centre. It’s hoped that the education program onsite will operate as the Barrett Adolescent Centre School did in providing for not only those young people in active treatment at the centre but for those who have moved from Jacaranda Place to treatment in the community but for whom continuity of education will ensure stability and ongoing progress. (Note that the Barrett School continues to be a vital service since its relocation to Tennyson where it now serves as a Support School for young people with severe mental health issues who don’t require long-stay inpatient care.)

BrisbaneTimesjacarandaplace2The new centre will be the base for approximately 45 medical, nursing and allied health professionals and 10 specialist educators and the Health Department is aware that those with lived experience are keen for the staff at the centre to be a valuable resource for those throughout the state dealing with the significant challenges that severe mental illness can impose on young people and their families throughout Queensland. With the lack of research worldwide into the severe and complex cohort of young people, Jacaranda Place could help not only those with direct contact with the centre but many more if the Health Department’s dedicated approach to those affected by severe youth mental health continues past the centre’s opening. Thanks to the proactive approach to co-design and collaboration taken by Queensland Health – spearheaded by Director General John Wakefield, there remains great potential for enduring benefits to take place in and beyond this new contemporary facility.

As the Premier made today’s announcement, she emphasised the importance of the new centre in the context of the tragic closure of its predecessor under Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and Premier Campbell Newman.

What happened after the Barrett Centre closed was an absolute tragedy which should never have happened,” the Premier said.

“I remember meeting with the families involved and being deeply moved by their stories, that’s why I made a commitment that we would build a new centre. I thank them for their time, their selflessness and their bravery in discussing what must have been times of terrible trial and suffering for them and their loved ones. Their input has been valuable, and will no doubt prove life-saving for future patients. I’m so proud to stand here today at the new Jacaranda Place which will ensure young people in need of mental health services get the very best possible care.”

Where the new name is concerned, Frank Tracey, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Queensland, the Hospital and Health Service with responsibility for Jacaranda Place said today:

“The name reflects the strength and resilience of the Jacaranda Tree, which represents wisdom, rebirth and good luck. It is a hardy tree that grows in difficult conditions and once a year, its true beauty is shown in full colour. The name also reflects the centre’s location and the views overlooking Jacaranda trees along Farnell Street. … [It is] a distinct and purposeful name for the centre – one that is both welcoming and representative of the stories of hope, dignity and recovery we want the centre to be known for.”

The press release announcing the naming of Jacaranda Place can be read in full here

and

7 News Gold Coast has posted Facebook video of an emotional press conference given by the Premier about Jacaranda Place opening here.

Also …

Updates of the progress of the building and construction of Jacaranda Place (including photos and video) can be found at Queensland Health’s Youth Mental Health site here.

Jacaranda Place will officially open in April so patient admission will not begin until that time.


severeyouthmentalhealth.org will keep you posted regarding the centre’s operation.

National Survey on Severe & Complex Mental Health Issues

‘Our Turn to Speak’ is a national survey that seeks to understand the life experiences of people living with severe and complex mental health issues in Australia.

It will investigate the lived experiences – both positive and negative – of people affected by these issues and the survey findings  will be used to inform SANE Australia’s future advocacy efforts, as they work towards improved social outcomes and support for all Australian affected by these issues. 

The survey organisers (SANE Australia’s Anne Deveson Research Centre is partnering with the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne) are seeking:

7,000 people aged 18 and over who have experienced complex mental health issues in the last 12 months.

The process is simple and short – following a short eligibility screening process, participants will proceed with completing the survey which will take about 30 minutes and can be completed online right now, or over the phone. (Participants can take the survey over the phone from Monday 11 November 2019, between 9.00 am – 8.00 pm (AEDT), Monday – Friday.)

For more information and to take the survey, visit the website:

ourturntospeak.com.au

This is a chance for what you experience to be considered when advocacy organisations are pushing for better support for people with severe and complex mental health issues. If they don’t know what you need, they don’t know what to fight for. So, if you’re eligible and able to do so without any negative repercussions, please contribute to the survey to make sure what you need becomes available.

More change in the way society responds to people with severe mental health issues is vital. Not just the right healthcare but the right understanding in so many areas. This survey gives you (y)our turn to speak and the right people are listening. So let them know what’s needed.

NAMING the Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) is working with young people, families, carers and Queensland Health staff across Queensland to name the new Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre (for young people with severe and complex mental health issues).

The aim is to identify a name that represents what the centre is intended to achieve in terms of health outcomes for young people – one of hope, dignity and recovery

So CHQ are seeking the help of eight young leaders across different consumer communities to help make sure the process is inclusive and reflects the diversity of young people across Queensland.

So, if you are aged 13-24 and represent one of more of the following characteristics:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander;
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • LBTQI+
  • Have accessibility or disability requirements; or
  • Have lived experience of mental health services

and you’re available to attend meetings on

●     16 October 2019 (90 mins)
●     1 November 2019 (60 mins)
●     18 November 2019 (45 mins)

please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) BY 13 OCTOBER and you could help provide the name that represents a better future for generations of young Queenslanders.

Those selected will be paid $187 per meeting and public transport, parking fees and private motor vehicle use will be reimbursed.

Click here to download more information and

Click here for the EOI form.

*

Have your say(ing) on the new Centre!

Your inspirational quotes required for the walls of the gym of the Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre

Today, as part of the co-design process, a group of young people/consumers took part in a furnishing and fit-outs planning session to select a range of sheets, aprons, seat coverings and wall vinyls for the new inpatient centre currently under construction at Chermside. They all agreed they’d like to see inspirational quotes on the wall of the gym, designed in a contemporary graphic style.

Inspirational quotes will replace the colourful abstract design on the wall in this 3D rendering of the AETC gym

SO THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE YOUR MARK on the place founded on values that include some of the following:

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) – the Hospital and Health Service that has responsibility for the new centre – will consider all quotes submitted. They can be from your personal experience or perhaps an authored quote that has resonated for you and could encourage the young people staying at the Centre to continue their courageous journey to recovery. Any appropriate quotes that can’t be fitted into the gym wall design will be considered for wall decals that may be included in other areas of the building.

A suggested –but not essential – format for your ‘quote’ is:

This too shall pass” – Kayden

SO …

Please use the comment box below to submit your quotes and severeyouthmentalhealth.org will pass all your suggestions on to CHQ for consideration at the end of September 2019. (If you’d like to pass something on but not have your input on display online, you can email your suggestions to Leonie Sanderson of Health Consumers Queensland and she will pass on your ideas for consideration.)

And YOU could end up providing inspiration to generations of young Queenslanders for whom all support will be truly invaluable!


 

Assumptions, Bias, Labels … why the search for justice is elusive

A BLOG POST

I have written previously on this site to try and give context to findings that were less than satisfactory to people who have just wanted understanding and fairness. I had hoped I wouldn’t have to write again.

The Coroner’s Court of Queensland is undoubtedly populated by experienced and deeply knowledgeable individuals – that is not disputed. Neither can it be denied that Talieha Nebauer, Will Fowell and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker were each precious, courageous, developing individuals.

And it is INDIVIDUALITY that is at the very heart of the matter that must be illuminated by what has transpired over the 6½ years since the inevitable closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre was first revealed to be underway.

Each human being is unique. Even identical twins are not actually identical. Each of us has a physical make-up that is not organically replicated exactly in any other person. We are a one-of-a-kind collection of thought patterns and hopes and likes and backstories and quirks and motivations and needs and lifespans. But the world often seeks to put us into categories. To label or pigeonhole. To impose. And sometimes, to assume to know based on superficial information.

The need to classify is often understandable. It’s too hard to start with a totally blank page when dealing with thousands or even millions of people. So we are grouped and assigned and we have to compromise on the parts of ourselves that fall outside the parameters we are supposed to fit within.
And sometimes those compromises aren’t a big deal.
But sometimes they are.

As individuals, none of us has the capacity to be truly objective. Despite it being vital at times in professions and key life moments, our humanity can never totally be shut down. So we bring our histories and agendas and ambitions and perspectives of the world to all that we do.
And sometimes that isn’t a big deal.
But sometimes it is.

 

 

So when an individual provides their input on an issue or event,
what is FACT and what is INTERPRETATION?
And when several different individuals have their say on a particular situation,
who is providing what could be seen as the closest to OBJECTIVE information?

In the case of the Barrett Inquiry and the Coronial Inquest, for example,
whose evidence has been determined to be the EXPERT information on which findings will be based and whose evidence is viewed as FLAWED so has been broadly disregarded?

That has been for the Commissioner and the Coroner to decide. Based on years of legal knowledge, experience and precedents; standard practice; even societal conventions. There are high expectations of everyone involved. Protocols and time limitations to adhere to. It is no easy task and one where compromises must regularly come into play.

Not unlike those compromises we all have to make when we don’t fall into the stereotypes that can be assigned to us.
Like the mothers who have tolerated snap judgements about their relationships with children whose lives are in turmoil. (Because those mothers burst into tears when they finally admit out loud that they’re terrified their child could be dead every time they’re out of sight for more than a minute). But they continue because no other treatment has been effective.
Like the carers who have long given up on hoping vicariously for a life of professional achievement, fulfilling relationships and creative satisfaction for the suffering young person that they love. (They just want them to have a life. And then one that isn’t a never-ending nightmare.) But they continue because they are realistic and determined that the young person’s life will be better in some small way.
Like the parents who have sacrificed a stimulating and useful professional career and their own stable, healthy existence because the young person with such complex needs means more to them than anything else. (24 hr diligence and stress will always take a toll. And a life wholly focussed on another – a loved one who moves from torment to hopeless – drains like nothing else can.) But they continue because know their priorities and their responsibilities. Their child comes before anything for themselves. Anything.

So this blog post is just to note that:
Individuals make compromises based on their priorities.
Individuals categorise based on their particular agenda.
So all we can hope for is that, in every situation possible, everyone will do their best to take in everything each person says and does. As much as possible. Factoring in the context of the information being provided – the role of the individual, their incentive, their bias.
Each individual’s input should be seen as valuable. There should never be judgements based on stereotypes or assumptions.
This approach is something we all hope for many times through our lives. Over trivial incidents. And life changing events. Because it’s the only way to get closer to understanding. And fairness.
And those two things are vitally important. Especially in circumstances where individuals have suffered.
And are suffering.
And could suffer so much that the worst can happen.
If it hasn’t already.

 


The media have reported that the inquest found that “there are no strong links between the suicide of three Queensland teenagers and the controversial closure of a youth mental health facility,  … other factors played a more significant role in the suicides”. To try to consider the situation within the context provided by the people that experienced the closure process and aftermath … click on the button below.

Inquest Findings leave bereaved families still seeking justice

“The legal system obviously does not equal the justice system … so far we haven’t had justice,

Justine Wilkinson,
Mother of Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker whose decade long battle
with mental illness came to an end when she died
within months of closure of the Barrett Centre

 

Today, Deputy State Coroner, John Lock handed down his findings into the deaths of Talieha Nebauer, Will Fowell and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker, the three young people who died within months of the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre (a healthcare facility which, during its 30 years of operation, had a record of no former patient dying within at least a year of their transition from the specialised care and education provided within the multidisciplinary inpatient program).  The families of each of the three young people were in attendance to hear the summarised version read by the Coroner and received written copies of the full report following today’s proceedings. A redacted version of the full report (omitting information relating to patient confidentiality and issues that may lead to a possible contagion effect) is available online at the Coroner’s Court website. (click this linked text to download).

In today’s oral overview, the Coroner outlined that, while there had been some continuity of care issues in certain circumstances, other factors specific to each individual were significant influences on the suicides of each of the three young people. Despite the inquest being yet another arduous and traumatic process for the bereaved families, it had been seen as an important step towards their need for justice, for official and public acknowledgement that the treatment of those who needed carefully structured healthcare and support was lacking at a time when it was essential.

The need for proper recognition of the ‘cohort of young people suffering severe, complex and persisting mental health issues’ remains a strong motivator for many whose lives were significantly affected by the closure process and by the surfeit of services that could respond to the unique treatment and support requirements of these young people. The response of the current government – whose pledge to create a new adolescent inpatient extended treatment facility should reach fruition with the opening of the new centre due for early 2020  – has been welcomed across the state by families who have exhausted all the healthcare options in their desperation to find help for young people who are at the highest level of risk. With the new centre focussed on those who need inpatient care (as well as offering day programs for young people who need such services in the Brisbane area), it’s hoped that there will be more developments that will change attitudes, deepen understanding and, in practical terms, fill the gaps in services from healthcare, education and across other sectors with delivery approaches that ensure easy and effective accessibility by those whose daily lives are dictated by their severe suffering.

With the inquest now concluded, Shine lawyer, Tiffany Marsh, indicated that legal action on behalf the families was being undertaken and was hoped to illuminate some of the key issues that may not have been included in the Coroner’s findings.

 

FOR MEDIA REPORTING ON THE CORONER’S FINDINGS, go to our
IN THE MEDIA page
where links can be found under ‘CORONIAL INQUEST

NEWS: Model of Service for new Centre; Carers Forum

MODEL OF SERVICE (MOS) FOR NEW ADOLESCENT EXTENDED TREATMENT CENTRE (AETC)

Independent Review of MOS

With Dr Paul Robertson engaged as an external consultant in March to provide independent clinical and expert advice on putting the theoretical Model of Service into operation terms, Queensland Health have now made Dr Robertson’s report available online:
– in summary (click linked text to access) and
– in full (click linked text to access) 
Other info and links can be found under the NEWS section of the YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PAGES of the Queensland Health website.

VISUAL MOS

The visual Model of Service can also be viewed via the same page of the QH site or you can go directly to the 2 page document by clicking on the image below:


CARERS FORUM (October)

ARAFMI – originally started as an association for carers of those with mental health issues whose aim is now to “enhance the wellbeing of people with mental illness, their families, carers and volunteers” – is holding their Becoming Visible Carers Forum 2019 on 15th October (during National Carers Week) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

As an opportunity for carers of someone with a mental illness to connect with others, hear from industry guest speakers and obtain the latest information about the person they care for this could be an invaluable day for many.

The forum is FREE to attend but spaces are limited so to find out more and/or REGISTER, click on the ARAFMI logo below.