Progress Report – June 2017

A summary on the progress of the implementation of the recommendations to improve mental health services for those affected by severe and complex adolescent mental health issues in Queensland is now on the DEVELOPMENTS page at severeyouthmentalhealth.org. This includes links to more detail via the Queensland Health Communiqués released following each Steering Committee meeting as well as  other recently tabled reports.

A couple of documents that are likely to be of particular interest are those relating to RECOMMENDATION #4 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW ADOLESCENT EXTENDED TREATMENT FACILITY (AETF). The Thematic Analysis Report summarises the web feedback provided on the draft Model of Service for the AETF so whether or not you were in a position to complete the online survey, the feedback from that makes for interesting reading. In addition, there is an External Review of the Model of Service by Dr Paul Robertson, a Victorian based child and adolescent psychiatrist of 25 years experience, who undertook consultations with a number of groups and individuals as well as being given access to relevant documentation. His insights will undoubtedly also play in a role in the development of not only the new facility but will encourage a strong focus on the full continuum of care for young people with mental health issues in Queensland (the child and youth mental health services continuum ie. CYMHSC, as Dr Robertson refers to it) and the ongoing co-design process i.e. “A structure to support ongoing consumer and carer participation in the broader CYMHSC system is recommended“.

So a complete and integrated CYMHSC system that will allow access across the state for all young people with mental health issues to a full range of treatment and other service options will be a key issue in the future. This will not only ensure stable and informed transitions from one care/education/support service to another but will hopefully mean that some young people who might otherwise have needed extended inpatient care could achieve recovery without that. For, although the clinical experts who gave evidence at the Barrett Inquiry made clear that there will always be a group of young people whose conditions and individual circumstances are so severe and complex that community-based care will not adequately support their progress, the objective is always to facilitate recovery in the least restrictive environment possible. Queensland needs a statewide service like the AETF but it also needs a complete system within which collaboration and communication are the foundation of operations. Mental health issues impact all aspects of people’s lives and when the individual needs and situations of those suffering are acknowledged, understood and met as effectively and immediately as possible, all our communities will benefit. So Dr Robertson’s urging that collaborative planning does not begin and end with a new facility is extremely pertinent.

He also stresses the need for RESEARCH to be a key component of the new AETF i.e.

Reference is made to the AETF undertaking research. It should be obliged to collect sufficient data to allow appropriate review of its functioning. Adequate resources, funding and time should be allocated for this to occur. Research will not occur without appropriate funding and partnerships with universities or other research organisations. Both appropriate data collection and analysis and research would require an active and resourced plan.

Existing and developing technologies should ensure that research extends beyond the new facility and across all the components of the CYMHSC. Collecting data on the services that precede and follow a young AETF patient’s inpatient treatment – will provide insights into this cohort of young people that is currently lacking across the globe. AND compiling extensive evidence on all youth mental health issues must be seen as a priority in a country where available data states that one in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition [ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 9] and we are regularly made aware that the risk in our youth population only continues to grow. So methods of gathering and collating information on the challenges faced by our young people that not only avoid any negative impact on the vulnerable but may, in fact, have potential for therapeutic benefit require prioritised consideration.

The STATEWIDE FORUMS facilitated by the Health and Education Departments along with Health Consumers Queensland have now concluded and summary information from those should soon become available. Consumers and carer representatives attended these with the support of HCQ and, with a number of factors influencing the ability of local consumers and carers to attend, it has also been invaluable to have Leonie Sanderson, the dedicated HCQ Engagement Advisor, continually open to accepting input via a range of communication avenues (surveys, emails, teleconferences and meetings for specific subgroups) to ensure that anyone in Queensland with insights into service provision in this area have had – and will continue to have – their voices heard.

THE ROLE OF HEALTH CONSUMERS QUEENSLAND has been extremely important in the process so far – supporting and facilitating the active involvement of consumers and carers. And HCQ’s enthusiasm for the project was highlighted when they made it the theme of the Plenary Session at their annual forum (video and written info on that session is available here), with Katherine Moodie and Jeannine Kimber – two of the consumer/carer representatives on the Steering Committee – on the panel alongside John Allan, Executive Director, MHAODB, Queensland Health; Gunther De Graeve, the Managing Director of the consulting firm undertaking the design of the new AETF; and Stacie Hansel, Executive Director, Dept Education & Training. The discussion highlighted the great potential of this project to not only produce innovative and more effective outcomes but to influence the way that future service planning should proceed. Participants significantly endorsed the tangible value of consumer/carer input as Gunther De Graeve stated:

There has been an enormous change in our design development, actually, through this process. … This co-design process really allowed us to reach very deep into the operational requirements, into the therapeutic requirements, the day-to-day requirements and then safety overlays etc. of this facility and it gave us a very wide platform. Traditionally, this engagement goes to clinicians and nursing staff and therapeutic staff and very little with the consumers. … It was a genuine process of actually trying to understand what the needs were and, to date, I still say that if we didn’t do that process we would have designed a very different facility and it probably wouldn’t have been – definitely not – as therapeutic as that facility could be for the patients.

So, as progress goes, it would seem that in many ways we are at the beginning of something bigger than a response to the Inquiry recommendations. Although the planning for the new AETF is well underway and the examination of transition procedures, service agreements and other vital elements that underlay the provision of services has been undertaken, the potential of this project to have an effect on other aspects of service delivery (education, vocational training, support for carers and families, justice and legal issues, housing and accommodation etc.), of approaches and attitudes to mental health and to ALL those affected by these issues must make this project only the start. People with lived experience must have a permanent seat at the table – not just on listening tours and wider consultation but at levels of decision-making and influence. And that includes not only consumers of services and their carers and families but those professionals who have dedicated years of clinical, educational and other practice to these consumers and carers. Those who work daily to improve the lives of others by being part of the reality, by knowing the individuals and supporting them in their journey must always be encouraged to give insights on the practicalities, the impediments, the successes.

Only through true collaboration will success be achieved. And if there is any area in which we must achieve, it is in keeping our young people alive and giving them hope for a better life.

$70 million in Queensland budget for Adolescent Mental Health

NEWS

The opening story on the 12 June bulletin on Queensland’s ABC television News was that the Palaszcsuk’s 13 June 2017 state budget – released this week – includes just under $70 million dollars to not only proceed with the establishment of the new extended treatment and rehabilitation facility at Chermside but to create four other complementary services aiming to support young people with mental illness in the community. (Online summary of ABC report here.)

Future plans include two new Step up Step Down facilities in south-east Queensland and two day programs to be based at Logan and the Gold Coast.

Justine Wilkinson, who lost her daughter Caitlin following the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre, has welcomed the allocation of funding but acknowledges that there is still much to be done to provide young people and their families with the full range of support that will make a significant difference to lives that can be indescribably turbulent and challenging. Ms Wilkinson’s ongoing advocacy has meant that she – along with other consumers and carers with lived experience in this area – has played a significant role in the ongoing co-design of new services following the government’s commitment to act on all the recommendations from the BAC Commission of Inquiry.

The engagement of Health Consumers Queensland has ensured that consumer and carer representatives sit on all committees and working groups undertaking planning to fulfil the recommendations and that people throughout Queensland have had opportunities to provide meaningful input into future service provision. This commitment to co-design ensures that those with lived experience not only are heard but heeded and can actively help to shape future services – a collaboration that should lead to programs and support that genuinely meet the needs of those in the community that require them.

Health Minister Cameron Dick believes the funding package to be a landmark step for young people so the community affected by youth mental health issues can only hope that innovative approaches to planning and needed funding continue to be at the forefront of the minds of all those responsible for providing vital services at all levels and in all sectors.

(More comment on this announcement can be found at the Blog post: ‘A Budget Boost –its implications for the Future and the Past.)

A Budget Boost – its implications for the Future … and the Past

A BLOG POST

The announcement of just under $70 million dollars to not only proceed with the establishment of the new extended treatment and rehabilitation facility at Chermside but to provide two new Step Up Step Down facilities and two new Day Programs to support young people with mental illness (online summary at the ABC website here) demonstrates the current government’s ongoing commitment to those who have been sadly overlooked in the past. Bi-partisan support for these positive moves would begin to ensure some long-needed stability and security for the futures of those in this most vulnerable of groups.

An adolescent extended treatment facility (AETF) fills a dangerous gap in service provision and Step Up Step Down and Day programs are vital in the full continuum of treatment and support options that are required to meet the needs of all young people with mental health issues. Extended inpatient treatment has proven essential for those young Queenslanders with severe and complex issues who have failed to make progress accessing community-based care and outpatient/intermediate care service options. The additional new programs will – if they are accessed in a timely way – provide some young people with the help needed to circumvent a stay in a residential facility. AND for those for whom extended inpatient care is essential, they will ensure that transition from one environment to another is gradual and fully supported according to the individual needs of the young person. Those affected by youth mental health issues across Queensland will be hoping that these kinds of service options will become readily available across the state. As community-based care remains the optimal environment – when the circumstances are right – then all communities must have access to every level of treatment and support.

The plans for the new facilities and programs have come from the process that commenced following the government’s commitment to act on all the recommendations from Justice Margaret Wilson’s report following the BAC Commission of Inquiry. Queensland Health then undertook to utilise a “co-design” process i.e. where bureaucrats, clinicians, specialist architects and other professionals work alongside consumers and carers to plan services that will be most effective. (Acknowledging that expertise lies not only in professional knowledge and practice but in lived experience is currently seen as innovative but should inevitably become standard procedure. Omitting those with practical, pertinent and comprehensive knowledge of the lived experience can only add an important dimension to planning for services in any area.)

Those young people (current and former) and family members who have taken part – and continue to be dedicated to – the process of genuine collaboration have demonstrated a level of commitment that is rare. People whose lives are affected by severe and complex mental health issues find themselves most often in situations where days and nights are to be survived moment by moment; plans are seldom made and often abandoned; and significant trauma, suffering, isolation and emergency management of the effects of illness must be regularly dealt with. And during recovery, the right approach for so many will be to look forward, to put strategies in place to navigate through daily challenges and to resist rumination on issues of anxiety and trauma. So participation in design of future services may be something that could be extremely problematic for the stability of some people’s mental health. There is great understanding throughout the mental health community for all who have suffered to make the right choices that will best support healing and not put mental health at risk and equally, there is deep gratitude for those able to put time and effort into a co-design process, sometimes at personal emotional risk.

And then there are those for whom looking forward provides a view with a void that can’t be filled – the families and communities who have lost loved ones will be experiencing mixed emotions at this announcement. The families of Talieha Nebauer, Will Fowell and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker will no doubt be relieved that there continue to be moves to ensure others might not have to suffer the personal tragedies that still shape their lives. Justine Wilkinson, herself a key participant in the co-design process, has told the ABC in relation to the budget commitment (particularly in relation to the continuation of planning for the Chermside AETF):

That’s absolutely fabulous, but this change has to continue, this is just the beginning and it has to be just the beginning. … We need to keep feeding these changes and innovations down the system to pick up young people before they get to that point.

However, we must recognise this news can only be bittersweet for those whose young people did not have the benefit of a government with such a strong commitment to confront youth mental health issues and to listen to those affected to order to provide the needed services. So our thoughts must also be with those whose bereavement continues as we hear this news. We must assure them that we will never fail to remember those who will not have the opportunity to access planned new services and we will continue to support those families for whom an inquest may provide some answers but will inevitably be a traumatic process and will never ever restore what they have lost. Talieha, Will and Caitlin and those that will continue to feel their absence from their lives are always in our thoughts.

The complexity of severe adolescent mental health issues is reflected in the reactions of those with lived experience to this positive budgetary news. There is relief, hope and gratitude but there is also caution and uncertainty from those who have experienced innumerable disappointments and who know that politics can play an inappropriate role in what is necessary in service provision across our communities. And there is renewed reflection on the tragic losses that will continue to impact people’s lives, whatever the future holds.

Severity and complexity in relation to mental health issues is not confined to a small group of young people. It is pervasive. It is challenging. And so it has become a situation that a significant proportion of the population have to live with and an issue that every single one of us must acknowledge.

The support that has been provided to the former Barrett families throughout the community has demonstrated that the capacity to care is our greatest strength. It is the strongest choice that any human being can make and it is undoubtedly the most rewarding. So with, gratitude for all everyone has done to lead us to a day when $70 million is committed to the next generation of Queenslanders, it’s hoped that the future contains not just all the services required but the ongoing support of an impressively caring population.

A reminder of INADEQUATE TRANSITIONS

A BLOG POST

10 months ago, I posted on the BLOG page of severeyouthmentalhealth.org – where pieces that have personal perspective, analysis or opinions appear (other posts are News and aim to focus on facts and information about developments etc.). I had been compelled to write about the findings of the Barrett Commission of Inquiry in relation to the transitions of patients.

As independent reviewers undertake a look at the transitions from adolescent to adult mental health services, particularly in relation to those suffering severe and complex mental health issues, I would urge anyone who is unsure of what they can contribute to read that July 2016 post which reflects on how the Barrett families felt in relation to the findings of the BACCOI on transitions.

These families know what needed to be done and what was overlooked and I am confident that they are not the only Queenslanders with this kind of insight.

So now is the time to do whatever you can to share your knowledge and experiences – or encourage others to do so – so that the young people who need the best support, the most carefully planned and gradual transitions and our best efforts in all the services they require in order to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel have access to what will not just improve their lives but, in some cases, save them. NOW IS THE TIME TO SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID. Through processes that ensure confidentiality but that also will mean that the input given IS ON RECORD and MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.

If you have an opinion following experience in this area or know someone who has, since the HOI reviewers’ survey is no longer accepting entries, please do the following yourself or encourage those who have important insights to:

The next few weeks provide key opportunities for those who understand what’s needed to contribute to providing those very things.

On behalf of all Queenslanders who are affected by severe and complex youth mental health issues – now and in the generations to come – I implore you all to give your expert input. From those who have seen the reality to those who can shape the future – the vital passage of ideas is the only way we can get closer to the right support for those who need it the most.

*

WANTED: Young People with Opinions and Experience!

NEWS

Following  the news posted recently about the engagement of two independent organisations to review the alignment and transition arrangements between adolescent and adult mental health services in Queensland, Health Consumers Queensland is hosting a forum run by Health Outcomes International to ensure the most important voices are heard on this issue i.e.

 the views of older adolescents and young people who have lived experience of mental health issues and have had contact with mental health services. 

Young people from 18 to 27 years are encouraged to attend, dial in to videoconference or submit their input to the issues being discussed via email. Through whatever means young people with experience in this area are able to communicate their opinions, it’s important that they are heard. It’s only through knowing what’s been happening that isn’t working that those approaches can be changed and we can put all our efforts into ensuring that the support, processes and services that will actually help are made available. SO … the independent reviewers are doing best to make sure that young people can gather together in a neutral environment – without service providers or government representatives – to air their concerns. This will take place at

Health Consumers Queensland Level 9, 217 George Street BRISBANE QLD 4000

on Thursday 1 June 2017, 1.30 pm – 3.00pm (approximately 1.5 hours)

RSVP: V􀁳anessaH􀀬@hoi.com.au

(If you need to bring a support person, please indicate that in your RSVP and be aware that this forum is to allow free-flowing discussion between young people so all attendees should help to foster that environment.)

FULL DETAILS of the youth forum are on the flyer that can be viewed/downloaded here.

The independent reviewers understand, though, that not everyone will have the capacity to attend. But that doesn’t mean those young people can’t have their say.

 For more information about linking in by videoconference, or to request an interpreter please contact Samantha Battams: 08 83633699 or samantha@hoi.com.au

Young people can also use the Word document available here to download or copy/paste into an email to give feedback on any of the issues to be discussed. They can then send these to either Samantha Battams or to Leonie Sanderson (Health Consumers Queensland) with the assurance that their comments will be included without any identifying information included. Privacy and confidentiality are recognised as vital in this process so HOI have guaranteed that …

 The session will be confidential in that no-one will be individually identified in the review.

 Please share this post with anyone you know who may have valuable experience in this area. The only chance we have to repair/replace the areas of the system that are failing  is if the true experts – those who’ve lived through direct experience of transition from adolescent to adult services – provide their insights. The benefits to other young people in the future will be immeasurable.

AND PLEASE DON’T FORGET … ANYONE with insights into the transition from adolescent to adult services for people with mental health issues in queensland can complete the independently run online surveY HERE.

The more you say, the more things can change.

Have your say ~ Transitions between Adolescent and Adult Mental Health Services

NEWS

The Inquiry into the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre brought many issues to light in relation to mental health services for young people that need to be addressed.

In chronological and legal terms, an adolescent becomes an adult at 18 years old. But when that adolescent has been enduring severe and complex mental health issues for years, adult services are too often totally inappropriate for his/her needs and transition to those purely because they’ve passed their 18th birthday can frequently be more harmful than helpful. The process of transition (when a young adult does actually reach a stage where they have the reasoning capacities, lifeskills and emotional/social development of an adult – ensuring access to adult services will facilitate ongoing progress) is also obviously vital. Trauma is likely to have already been a significant experience in the lives of these young people and all efforts to support them must ensure that no therapeutic process or mechanism between processes contributes to that in any way. Individual readiness and gradual and appropriate transitions must not be an aspiration but a BASIC REQUIREMENT of their mental healthcare.

Justice Wilson’s Recommendations from the BACCOI included:
REC 5: Improve transitions for adolescents moving into adult mental health services
and the government’s action on this has been to assemble a working group to outline the terms of reference for the engagement of an organisation to undertake an independent review of the current situation as regards the alignment and transition arrangements between Queensland’s adolescent and adult services.

Health Outcomes International (HOI) and Synergy Nursing and Midwifery Research Institute are, as a result of their appointment, undertaking a range of consultations – from focus groups, discussions with key stakeholders and an online survey to gather information on issues including the following:

  • Mental Health Program/Services that currently exist throughout Queensland
  • Capacity/ resourcing issues
  • Processes for the transition of adolescents and young people to the adult mental health system
  • Collaborative working arrangements and communication between services
  • Service Innovations
Many young Queenslanders and their families will have valuable information based on their own experiences and it is only through sharing those experiences that access to the appropriate services and transition methods can be developed. The problems Queenslanders have personally experienced or witnessed cannot continue but any shortcomings or mismanagement can’t be addressed if they are not communicated to the independent reviewers. Please be assured that any contributor’s personal identity WILL BE PROTECTED.

CONFIDENTIALITY
HOI states clearly that the information collected by the survey is for statistical purposes only and won’t be used to identify survey respondents, mental health service users or their families/carers. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Andrew McAlindon, Senior Manager at HOI (AndrewM@hoi.com.au)
and/orLeonie Sanderson
please note that Leonie Sanderson at Health Consumers
Queensland is an ADVOCATE and ADVISOR for the needs of CONSUMERS and CARERS, specifically in relation to the government response to the Inquiry’s recommendations.

As the HCQ website states:

Health Consumers Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered health promotion charity and we believe in improving health outcomes for people in Queensland. One way we do this is through enabling consumers to be an effective voice in how health services are designed and delivered.

So you can contact Leonie at leonie.sanderson@hcq.org.au to clarify anything or provide anonymous information should you have any concerns about sharing information related to your mental health service experiences in a more public forum.

Those who were/are unable to attend the ongoing regional forums* should be encouraged to contact Leonie with their insights at the above email address or by phoning HCQ on 07 3012 9090 to arrange the best method and time of sharing your insights to suit your needs and availablity.

So please, urge those you know who have experience in the transition of a young person/s from adolescent to adult mental health services to undertake the survey (at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3542411/Queensland-Health-Public-Mental-Health-Services-Mapping) and/or contact Health Consumers Queensland directly if you have additional insights to share regarding the services needed to address the needs of young people with severe and complex mental health issues. Contributions from those with experience are essential in ensuring that the right approaches, programs and attitudes to mental healthcare for our most vulnerable young people become standard practice as soon as possible.
* There are still places available for the following Youth Mental Health forums:
Townsville: 9.30am - 12.30pm, 19 May - Riverway Function Space, Tony Ireland Stadium.
Mt Isa: 12.30 - 3.30pm, 23 May - MICRRH, James Cook University Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health, Mount Isa Hospital, Joan St, Mount Isa City.
Logan: 9.30am - 12.30pm, 29 May - Logan Central, 51 Wembley Rd, Ground floor conference room Addiction, Mental Health Services.
Mackay: 10.30am - 1.30pm, 30 May - Ocean International Resort, 1 Bridge Rd, South Mackay.
Bundaberg: 10.30am - 1.30pm, 31 May - Burnett Riverside Motel, 7 Quay Street, Bundaberg.

Youth Mental Health Survey 2012 – 2016 Report

NEWS

Mission Australia, in collaboration with the Black Dog Institute, has undertaken a nationwide study into youth mental health and as reported in the Brisbane Times, it backs up what those affected by youth mental health issues have been saying for some time. The numbers of young people with serious mental health issues continues to increase. And, especially troubling, so does their reluctance to seek help.

The report focuses on the period between 2012 (when the cut-backs by the previous Queensland government began that included the closure of the only long-term inpatient facility) and 2017, so that now 21.9 per cent of young Queenslanders meet the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness – “up from 18.6 per cent in 2012”.

On the release of the report, Mission Australia’s Queensland state director Darren Young said the number of young Queenslanders facing serious mental illness was “alarming“.

“The effects of mental illness at such a young age can be debilitating and incredibly harmful to an individual’s quality of life, academic achievement, and social participation both in the short term and long term,” he said.
                                                                  Brisbane Times, 19 April 2017

The nationwide study also clearly states that:

“ …young people with a probable serious mental illness report higher levels of personal concern across a wide range of issues, meaning that services and supports need to be cognisant of the complexity of worries and concerns young people are experiencing. Services need to be able to support and skill young people to deal with these issues or to provide referrals when needed (as it may be beyond the scope of any one particular service to support young people with the diverse range of concerns noted) and help them navigate an often complex service system.

This emphasises the values in the current Queensland government response to the recommendations from the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry. Young people and carers with lived experience MUST be part of a co-design team to create that full range of services needed to meet the needs of severe and complex youth mental health issues and a depth of understanding of these issues must be developed across the community – particularly in areas where young might seek help.

The Mission Australia study reports that:

“Young people with a probable serious mental illness have consistently reported that the top three sources they would go to for help with important issues in their lives are friends, parents and the internet.”

But even the statistics indicate that there are declines in seeking help from these preferred sources.

The would tend to indicate that any public rhetoric about the reduction in stigma is purely that – rhetoric – and, although positive publicity campaigns are a good starting point, more actions must be taken and/or attitudes changed at all levels for young people to have confidence in and/or knowledge of available support/services, particularly as the range of these expands to meet all needs.

The full report can be accessed here. We should all view it as a reinforcement of a call to action to do whatever we are able to make sure that future studies tell a very different story.

UPDATE: Mackay event added to Youth Mental Health Forums

NEWS

The Queensland Health Commission of Inquiry Implementation Group and Health Consumers Queensland will be hold a forum in Mackay as well as the other regional centres already announced. The list of dates is now as follows:

2 May (Tuesday)Toowoomba
4 May (Thursday)Sunshine Coast
5 May (Friday)Cairns
9 May (Tuesday) – Ipswich
12 May (Friday)Rockhampton
19 May (Friday)Townsville
23 May (Tuesday)Mt Isa
25 May (Thursday)Bundaberg
29 May (Monday)Logan
30 May (Tuesday)Mackay NEW
1 June (Thursday) Gold Coast
2 June (Friday)Brisbane

Click on your chosen location above to register your attendance OR

Head to the GET INVOLVED! page at severeyouthmentalhealth.org
under the heading getinvolvedtopic4
for more information

OR

Go directly to www.health.qld.gov.au/improvement/youthmentalhealth OR www.hcq.org.au OR
contact EDyouthmentalhealth@health.qld.gov.au 

This is a unique opportunity to genuinely contribute to the specific services and support required for all young people and families in Queensland dealing with severe and complex mental health issues.
We cannot change the past – and we will continue to support those whose suffering continues as a result of what has gone before – but anyone with an interest in this vital area of service provision can now be HEARD and RESPONDED TO.
Please become a part of the movement towards valuing our young people and those who care for them in the way that they truly deserve.

Be Part of the Conversation on Youth Mental Health Services

NEWS

As part of the Qld Government’s response to the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry (BACCOI) Report, Health Consumers Queensland‘s collaboration with Queensland Health and Education Queensland continues to create vital opportunities for public input.

The next phase means thatcoming soon to a town near you will be a public forum where anyone with ideas, experience and information related to adolescent mental health issues are invited to talk directly to those responsible for the provision of health and education services throughout Queensland for young people and their families dealing with such challenges.  Consumer and carer representatives who have been actively involved so far will be present as will the Health Consumers Queensland staff who continue to advocate for co-design as the only means by which the best services can become available.  These forums are an opportunity to:

To register your attendance go to
www.health.qld.gov.au/improvement/youthmentalhealth or

contact EDyouthmentalhealth@health.qld.gov.au or
click on the thumbnail below right to open the info sheet
with location and registration information

Update – March 2017

NEWS

With 2017 well underway, Queensland Health continues to work on the recommendations from the Barrett Inquiry with their commitment to engage with consumers and carers clearly evident. Progress on each issue is reported on in the Communiqué released following the 4th meeting of the Steering Committee. (This and other documents can be directly accessed from Queensland Health here.)

Some Key Developments

MODEL OF SERVICE
Submissions on the preliminary Model of Service for the new statewide Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility have now closed. The Queensland Health website indicates that “comprehensive input came from a broad range of sources” (Health Consumers Queensland put in a group response to add to multiple individual responses) with a thematic analysis now being undertaken. A summary report will be released when it is completed.

EDUCATION
With the school such a key component of the Barrett Adolescent Centre, Education is an area that must be considered alongside Health within the Model of Service. To that end, Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) is running a survey to ascertain what form education should take within the new facility and beyond that. Anyone with insights or opinions on education for young people with severe and complex mental health issues is urged to complete the survey as collaboration with Education Queensland is underway and will continue to be a significant element of the Model of Service.

GET INVOLVED
The other HCQ Survey links, along with all the information on the work on the Inquiry Recommendations – including how you can become involved – can be found HCQ’s Barrett page here. Alternatively, if you want to contact Queensland Health directly for further information or to become involved in the consultation processes, you’re invited to email the Manager of the COI Implementation Team (Judith Piccone) on EDyouthmentalhealth@health.qld.gov.au.

TRANSITIONS FROM YOUTH TO ADULT SERVICES
Where Recommendation 5 (Improve transitions for adolescents moving into adult mental health services) is concerned, the government is currently seeking proposals to review the alignment and transition arrangements between adolescent and adult public mental health services in Queensland. Details are available at the QTenders page and qualified independent consultants are invited to apply before 3 March.

HCQ FORUM
Health Consumers Queensland is proving to be not just a vital conduit but a valued resource with advisors and facilitators who can utilise their own expertise and that of other skilled professionals to ensure that consumers/carers are key figures in discussions and planning. Their commitment to this community is evidenced by the Keynote Presentation at HCQ’s 18 May Annual Forum in Townsville … a panel with HCQ, Queensland Health and Consumer/Carer reps discussing the experience and benefits of consumer/community engagement on Barrett COI Recommendations so far. (HCQ provides assistance for consumers to attend the forum so if you are interested in participating, you can put in an application using this form.)

CONSUMER/CARER PERSPECTIVE
Some significant efforts went into putting together the 9 February Consumer/Carer Presentation to the Steering Committee that “highlighted the lived experiences of consumers and families and the complexities navigating various service systems when a young person has a severe and complex mental health issue”. Supported comprehensively by Leonie Sanderson and Melissa Fox, some courageous and compassionate individuals contributed their personal stories to illustrate the challenges that those affected by severe and complex adolescent mental health issues continue to be faced with. It’s hoped that this presentation will evolve into a number of resources to more widely educate (with specific tools developed for different groups from clinical staff to the general public) with special care always taken to ensure the privacy, security and well-being of those who have contributed their personal experiences.

No mention of current planning or future services can go without recognition for those with lived experience of severe and complex adolescent mental health issues who continue to play a role. Those we have lost and those whose lives have been permanently altered are always in our thoughts. The depth of their pain fuels the need to ensure others will never endure such suffering. And those who are able to directly contribute to the process do so empowered by amazing personal strength and a commitment to help others. There is no doubt that the stories and insights from the past and present will shape the ethos and the practical elements of the kind of service provision that will have a positive impact. The young people and family members of the future will be indebted to those who came before. Those whose pain was so often tragically misunderstood but whose bravery and compassion for others will never be forgotten. If their voices continue to be heard and validated, they will be the foundation of a system that must ultimately meet the needs of EVERYONE who encounters mental health issues in Queensland.