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!


 

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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.


 

 

YOUR involvement in POSITIVE CHANGE

Mental Health issues – especially those that are severe and complex which have a serious impact on those around a young person directly facing the challenges – put those with lived experience in an almost impossible position …

YOU are the ones who know best about the most important aspects of service provision (whether the right services are available to achieve the progress that’s desperately needed)

BUT

YOU are dealing with mental health issues – and that takes time, can limit your ability to do things (to the point of everything feeling totally overwhelming) and can mean that you have had enough difficult experiences with service providers that the idea of doing anything beyond just surviving just can’t be on your radar

WE KNOW THAT YOUR SITUATION CAN MEAN YOU CAN’T ALWAYS BE INVOLVED IN THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE 

Even those with the biggest hearts and the greatest determination will find themselves needing to focus solely on getting through the next minute and then the next and then the next … So doing anything that isn’t part of that ‘just holding on‘ isn’t possible.

BUT

  1. If you can pass on opportunities to others (e.g. using social media can mean just a few clicks) you’ve done something that will help; and
  2.  If you feel you could spend a few minutes online, there are often ways to do that that don’t mean an ongoing commitment (see below).

Of course when you’re able to get a little more involved and still take care of your health, there are groups in your community and projects underway where you can participate more regularly and in different ways. So you can see what you might be able to do when you

There are many ways that you and those you know can be heard so that you, those close to you and people you don’t even know will get better help.
Better healthcare.
Better education.
Better support to help you towards a life where you can do more. And feel better.

 

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY VIA THE …

National Mental Health Commission CONNECTIONS SURVEY

The National Mental Health Commission aims to “consult and engage with all Australians on the 2030 Vision for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention“.  So their Connections project is to be a nation-wide conversation about the future of mental health and suicide prevention in Australia. The Commission will be visiting 23 communities across Australia to hold Town Hall meetings to which anyone with lived experience of mental health is invited to attend. If you can’t be at the Town Hall meetings you can share your stories and experiences in relation to mental health, suicide prevention and wellbeing ONLINE by clicking on the following link.

CONNECTIONS PROJECT ONLINE SURVEY

The survey closes on the 8th of September 2019

And you find out more about the Connections Project overall by clicking on the image below..
If you can share this with your network of friends, family and colleagues so that the right information gets to the people who can make the changes, that would be great. But if now is a time you need to focus on you, know there will be ways for you to have you say when you’re able.

Thanks for caring.
About others and for yourself.

Those are two best things that you can do.

*

Understanding is the positive way forward

This isn’t a typical post for severeyouthmentalhealth.org – not even for one of our BLOG posts. But so many important topics overflowed from these recent statements in relation to youth mental health issues that we just had to comment. The real problem was knowing where to start! But here we go …

Yesterday, Andrew Bolt, an Australian media commentator, wrote a column in the Herald Sun newspaper the subject of which was Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist whose personal protest on climate change inaction grew into a worldwide phenomenon that she continues to lead. *

Click to enlarge in new window

As you’ll see by the areas highlighted by us above, he chose to make the mental health issues that Greta deals with the thrust of his story. He chose to refer to her as “deeply disturbed“, “strange” and “fragile“. So not only did Andrew Bolt deny the science of climate change about which Greta has proven to be so well-informed but he showed himself to be as ignorant as too many sadly are in relation to complex youth mental health issues.

There are many ways to respond.

 

This is how Greta Thunberg did it:

 

Our inclination is to list some key facts in order to directly address those affected by severe and complex youth mental health issues who may have read Mr Bolt’s column:

1. We are not our health issues. Our identity comes from many things with some of it becoming evident in the ways we choose to express our values. But who we truly are is not delineated by our liver malfunction, by our malignant cells or by our mental health issues.

2. We cannot be defined by our chronological age. We can be shaped by our physical and cognitive development (which are result of our unique genetic make-up and experiences within the environment/s in which we have lived), by our interests and principles and abilities and … more. Our chronological age can be linked to a number of those things but the fact alone that we 16, 60 or 6 gives little indication of who a person is.

So – ‘The World’ will never see us as we truly and perfectly are – each human being is so many things making up a multi-faceted individual that even those close to us will never know us absolutely. 100%. And that’s OK. But we show aspects of ourselves through the words we choose to share (and who we choose share them with) and the actions that we take.

3. Our words and actions have implications for others. We can think only of ourselves and what suits our personal agenda or we can consider other people and how what we say and do will impact them.

4. The truth can hurt but there is no excuse for using misinformation to hurt.

5. We can choose to be negative or we can choose to be positive.

So – we can find ways to make things bad, we can criticise … we can create a persona that engenders fear from statements that aren’t true because, sadly, that can garner enough interest from a public so desperate to ensure they are prepared for the worst that advertisers will pay for your house and your boss’s mansion and his boss’s castle.
OR we can think about what we can do that could be useful, helpful, kind. To others and to ourselves. We can use positive words – encourage ourselves, compliment others, share inspiring/funny/exciting things, discuss solutions to a problem. We can take positive actions – do a chore that isn’t ours to do, make someone laugh, find a productive way to contribute to important issues or causes that matter to us, … and on a day we feel we can’t do anything at all, to just try and do one thing is something to be proud of.

Greta Thunberg is many things. 
Continuing to manage a number of health issues is not her identity but it shows that, with the right treatment and support, individuals can apply their specific skills and passions to learning and understanding, sharing knowledge, inspiring and energising others, trying to improve some part of living in the world.

So here’s our improvement on the headline for an article about what Greta Thunberg is doing:

To share this image on social media, right click (ctrl+click on Mac) to choose to Save As… , Copy etc.

 

You can be inspired.

But don’t forget that YOU CAN ALSO BE INSPIRING.

To try to achieve something positive when you have your own challenges is inspirational. It is brave. And strong. Whatever you are trying and whatever the outcome.

And to those who are yet to have a good understanding of the reality of severe and complex mental health issues, all of the above also applies.
It applies to us all.

(Especially me.)

 


Click to go to video

* If you want to find out more about Greta Thunberg’s work (beyond clicking on  the links in the 2nd para above), you can go to the following news reports:

Greta Thunberg: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

School Strike for Climate: Meet 15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg, Who Inspired a Global Movement

16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

and/or view her Tedx Talk by clicking on the image (above right)

A good source of summary information as well as questions and discussion points to engage students and others with news on global events is the edition relating to Greta of The New York Times’ “Learning with …” series.


 

Other severeyouthmentalhealth.org BLOG POSTS can be found here
with NEWS POSTS on the homepage and
via the ‘Previous News’ menu on any page with a sidebar at the right

*KEY ROLES FOR CONSUMERS AND CARERS in Selection of New Centre’s Staff

People with lived experience of severe and complex youth mental health issues have shaped the design of the new inpatient extended treatment centre at Chermside. They have had input into the model of care. AND NOW …

THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT ON THE SELECTION PANEL FOR THOSE THAT WILL STAFF THE CENTRE.

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) –the Hospital and Health Service under which the new AETC will operate – is committed to having consumers and carers as equal and valued members of the selection panel that will determine the appointments of professionals in the clinical roles at the Chermside Centre.

 

So Expressions of Interest are being invited now
with applications closing on 19 July
for Consumers and Carers to submit their completed forms.*

Consumer and Carers involved will, as has been the case throughout the development of the AETC, be comprehensively supported by Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) and there will be

  • A 90 minute training session for every consumer/carer who becomes involved in the recruitment process as well as opportunities for pre-brief and post-interview debriefing
  • Reimbursement for travel and parking expenses and
  • Remuneration for time spent training, pre-reading, shortlisting, and interviewing at $40 per hour

We all know that it’s the PEOPLE that make a facility into a HEALING ENVIRONMENT.
And now, it’s those with the personal experience of the types of individuals who can do that whose contributions can lead to the selection of the team who will change lives.

YOU KNOW WHO’S NEEDED.

SO PUT IN AN EXPRESSION OF INTEREST TO BE AT THE TABLE OF THOSE APPOINTING THE STAFF WHO WILL COLLABORATE, RESPECT AND UNDERSTAND.

 

For more information, you can download the following documents:

CHQ on Consumer and Carer Involvement in Staff Recruitment

HCQ’s Recruitment Training

and to put in an Expression of Interest, just click on the link here to download the form.

OR

you can go to the dedicated page on the HCQ website for all you need.

*Note that if you can’t get your form in by 19 July and you still want to apply, you can contact Leonie Sanderson of HCQ on 0437 637 033.

And PLEASE, share this post as widely as possible to give all consumers and carers who might be interested the opportunity to be involved. 

IMPORTANT DECISIONS REQUIRE IMPORTANT PEOPLE 
and the most important people in this process are the Queenslanders who REALLY KNOW about severe and complex youth mental health issues.

NEW EXTENDED TREATMENT CENTRE NEEDS: Therapists, Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists, …

The team that will provide the holistic treatment and support at the new Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre to open at Chermside in early 2020 will be truly multidisciplinary.

So Expressions of Interest are now being called for:

  • Art Therapists
  • Carer Consultants
  • Dieticians
  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Health Workers
  • Medical
  • Music Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Peer Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Therapists

This is a unique opportunity to work in a truly collaborative team based in a new purpose built centre focussed on changing the lives of young people and their families. To be able to provide hope, facilitate recovery and witness the development of young Queenslanders with the potential to live productively in the community and finally acknowledge their own value will be a professional experience that is genuinely enriching.

For more information, click here to go the relevant page of the Children’s Health Queensland HHS website  or, to be kept informed of recruitment activity as it unfolds, email a copy of your CV to AETService-Recruit@health.qld.gov.au.

It’s worth noting that CHQ HHS page linked above also has a digital ‘flyover’ video of what the exterior of the new Centre will look like (and from which the images used here were selected). So anyone with any interest at all in the Centre should find viewing this particularly interesting.

*****

Deadline extended for Youth Mental Health Consumer Rep role

Please note that due to a technical glitch with the Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) website, the deadline for applications for the available Youth Mental Health Consumer Rep role has been extended to Friday 22nd February. So please continue to encourage anyone you know who might have expressed an interest to put in their application.

Click below to go directly to the HCQ page:

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMER REPRESENTATIVE OPPORTUNITY

or access information from our previous post at:

Youth Mental Health Consumer Opportunity … 18–29 year olds PLEASE APPLY


 

Queensland Mental Health CONSUMER AND CARER PEAK ORGANISATION

Please share the following:

This Wednesday 6th of February
from 10am to 11:30am

there will be a

Kitchen Table Morning Tea Event

to discuss the new

Queensland Mental Health Consumer and Carer Peak Organisation

at 340 Adelaide Street, Brisbane (Ground Floor Boardroom)

RSVPs are not required. Those interested are welcome to simply turn up on the day. 

 

This event is an informal opportunity to hear from mental health and addictions consumers and carers to seek input, with two other similar events to be held in Townsville and Mount Isa yet to be scheduled.

(Note: These events are for mental health consumers and carers only and not designed for representatives/leaders from organisations who also have interest in a new peak body. Separate meetings are being held with such organisations/ leaders to hear their views and seek input. )

Please download the flyer below and share it with your own consumer and carer networks.

Everyone wants expert support to be provided built on the genuine needs of those in the community living with mental health issues. So please never forget:

Your voices are vital.
Your experiences make you experts.