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


 

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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.

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

As services for young people with mental health issues continue to be addressed by the Health Department of the Queensland state government, an opportunity has opened up for someone with lived experience with mental healthcare services to directly contribute to what is provided across the state in the future. And if you’re between 18 and 29, your experience is particularly relevant so although consumers of any age can apply, it would be incredibly useful to have the perspective of a young person who has had accessed mental healthcare relatively recently or is still doing so.

The aim is to provide what is genuinely needed and what will work, particularly for those who are dealing with severe and complex mental health issues.
And no one knows better than a young person who has had direct contact with  government services  (even if  youth-specific programs/treament or otherwise (if no age-appropriate options exist in your area of need).

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW.

So if you’re in a position to be able to participate in monthly meetings, you will be extremely well-supported and receive payment for your time and input (as well as reimbursement for travel expenses within the Brisbane area).

This role is as a Consumer Representative for the
Youth Mental Health – Capital Program.

(“Capital” in this government context usually means the creation/acquisition of buildings/land and/or alterations/additions to those e.g. projects that focus on new facilities in which services will be provided.)

The successful applicant will join another consumer representative and a carer representative on the Project Implementation Group which oversees the capital program – ensuring that projects are managed and advice/direction is provided to support the timely and successful delivery of the mental health facilities. In this case, a major component of the work has focussed on the design and development – and now construction – of the new Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility at Chermside. Consumers and carer reps have been involved throughout the entire process so far to make sure that every aspect of the design of the new centre is what will be best for the young people who’ll need it.

[For more general information on how the government has responded to the multiple recommendations from the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry (BACCOI), you can go to Queensland Health’s youth mental health site at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/improvement/youthmentalhealth]

To put an in Expression of Interest for the Consumer Representative,
you can find more information here at the Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ)* site.

where you can access an Expression of Interest form to complete and email to: Leonie Sanderson, HCQ Engagement Advisor: leonie.sanderson@hcq.org.au
by midday Friday 15 February 2019 (the official closing date for applications).
However, please phone Leonie on 0437 637 033 if you are interested in applying but are unable to submit by this date.


* HCQ is not a government organisation but a a not-for-profit peak body and a registered health promotion charity representing the interests of health consumers and carers in the state

The Severe and Complex Youth Mental Health Cohort

A New Year has begun.
So what lies ahead for people affected by severe and complex youth mental health issues?
Of course we can’t know. We can hope.

BUT IS HOPE ENOUGH AFTER ALL THAT PEOPLE HAVE HAD TO ENDURE?

The people who genuinely understand what “severe and complex” is in adolescence remain a minority.
Those who know exactly are those who live it every day.

Beyond them, who else recognises that severe and complex youth mental health issues” defines a unique group of young people? That this is a group whose mental health issues are far from treatable depressive or anxiety disorders.

Young people with severe and complex mental health issues experience symptoms, behaviours and triggers that are unpredictable, tortuous, idiosyncratic and often extreme and life-threatening.
They are burdened by the challenges of balancing between child- and adulthood – all while they confront the implications of multiple conditions that interact with each other to produce effects that sometimes don’t relate to any one of their individual diagnoses.
They can be young people whose traumatic histories have left them socially isolated, traumatised, misunderstood and even ignored for significant portions of their lives.
This cohort of patients – as well as those who care for them – MUST HAVE proper recognition.
If this does not happen on a wide scale in 2019, then the devastation of the Barrett Closure will be part of an ongoing tragedy.

Yes, a new centre is being built which is an incredible relief.
And yes, there has been a real commitment to a collaborative design process that includes people with lived experience as well as healthcare professionals and experts in the architecture and construction of mental healthcare buildings. It’s hoped that this will mean the beginning of this kind of process for other healthcare service development.

But as we start the New Year with the deaths of Talieha Nebauer, Will Fowell and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker still under examination by the Queensland Coroner, we need to ask:

Will this be another year that ends with uncertainty?

Will there be the vital outcomes for the families who repeatedly warned that the closure of the Barrett Centre would put the most vulnerable young people at even higher risk?
Will there be public recognition of the false administrative deadline, political cost-cutting motivation and lack of appropriate replacement services that meant transitions from the closing centre could never encompass the fundamental principles of stability and continuity of care for young people whose illness bears the risk of fatal consequences?
Will there be the long overdue acknowledgment of the few professionals whose understanding and expertise allowed them to continue their dedication to the welfare of traumatised young people with skilled measures that prevented even greater permanent damage?

Will there be a move towards wide-reaching processes to educate healthcare professionals about this cohort and the fact that their needs differ from the majority of people requiring clinical support for mental health issues?

Without the clear and tangible acceptance (with whatever documentation/ endorsement is required*) across the healthcare sector – and beyond – that young people with severe and complex mental health issues require truly SPECIALISED support from skilled practitioners who have the KNOWLEDGE of and COMMITMENT to individualised care, the young people in this cohort will continue to be referred to treatment options that have little chance of achieving progress. …
They will find themselves repeatedly confronted by the futile expectation that treatment that has been effective for those whose illness is less complex and less severe might eventually achieve a modicum of progress.
They will stand in Emergency Departments and be told that their compulsion to harm themselves is ‘just attention-seeking’ behaviour.
They will be informed by more than one practitioner that they are too complex for his/her level of experience. And then be left with nowhere left to turn.
And they will retreat to somewhere where they feel they cannot fail again. But where they will become even more lost.

But this lack of progress is not THEIR failure …

These young people and their families and friends deserve better.
They always have.
They have always deserved the best. But have too often received the worst.

They are still often judged and dismissed.
Even though they compromise and keep trying to give clarity to what their lives are like and what they need.

They slip through the cracks of both healthcare and education.
Even though they are desperate for effective treatment and an opportunity to have lives that are even a shadow of the opportunities they see other young people immersed in.

The lives of young people with severe and complex mental health issue are hard enough.
It takes effort to face a world that terrifies.
It takes strength to sit in corridors waiting to give voice to your greatest fears and darkest moments.

No one WANTS to expose thoughts and feelings that are deep inside and quashed because an illness has created them but yet for which the sufferer feels personally responsible. Or like a Freak. Or Weird. Or Evil.
No one WANTS to stay in a psychiatric facility unless they know that it’s the only thing that can save them.
And no person wants to do those things again and again and again because their medication isn’t effective or because their complexity is beyond their current clinician’s experience.

But this is the life that those affected by severe and complex mental youth health issues have been living.
Because of illness.
Not karma. Not punishment. Not of their own doing in any way.

It is a health issue. That becomes an emotional issue. A social issue. It affects development and learning and relationships and futures.

It changes lives.

It takes lives.

AND ALL THESE YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE EVER NEEDED IS TO BE TRULY SEEN AND HEARD.
SO THE WORLD NEEDS TO LISTEN.
CLINICIANS NEED TO KNOW.
AND THEN APPLY THAT KNOWLEDGE.
The status quo is not good enough.
Not knowing is not good enough.

We know 3 young people died after the closure of the Barrett Centre.
We know other young people died before them and after them because their severity and complexity was not adequately recognised and supported.

So 2019 must be the year that Queensland,  Australia – and beyond –
SEES these young people and those that care for them.

RECOGNISES them.
LEARNS ABOUT THEM, FOR THEM AND WITH THEM.
AND DOES WHAT IS NEEDED TO GENUINELY HELP THEM.

.

If this year passes without those things happening,
we all should
know better.

.
Because we will have learnt absolutely nothing.

.

.


*  This need for clarification extends from those with lived experience to experts in the area of youth mental with extensive clinical and research backgrounds and a genuine understanding of the severe and complex cohort.
Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, is the world’s leading research and knowledge translation organisation focusing on mental ill-health in young people.  Professor Patrick McGorry is Orygen’s Executive Director. Their official response to the draft version of the National Mental Health Plan highlights a serious lack of clarification as regards severe and complex mental health issues i.e.

“… greater clarity (and consensus between the governments) needs to be articulated in the Fifth Plan to describe what is meant by ‘complex and severe’… “

and under “Specific feedback on the priority areas“, it’s stressed that there is:

“Over simplification of the experiences and stages of mental ill-health in the division of ‘complex and severe’ and the rest of the population. 

Unfortunately when the final version of the Plan was released, no changes had been made in that area. (Click image, right, to view draft and final text comparison.)

It’s also worth noting that in this 74 page document, the word “youth” appears only in reference to the Youth Suicide Prevention Plan for Tasmania (within a list of State and Territory Plans and Commitments). The word adolescent” appears a total of 4 times (two of those in one bibliography listing) and the phrases “young people” and “young adult/s” do not appear at all.

“A New Era Dawns for Adolescent Mental Health in Queensland”

A ceremony today has marked the commencement of construction of the new Adolescent Extended Treatment facility within the grounds of Prince Charles Hospital at Chermside scheduled to open in 2020. The Queensland Premier – who attended along with the Health Minister Steven Miles – took the opportunity to release a Media Statement noting the significance of this next stage in the development of the vital health service that has been lacking since the closure of the Barrett Centre.

“My government is committed to making sure Queensland’s most vulnerable young people have access to highly specialised healthcare services to help them recover and return to their family, friends and communities. … I want to thank the patients of the former Barrett Adolescent Centre and their families, and other young people with a lived experience of mental health services for their invaluable input which will ensure that this facility and its services will be safe and effective.”

Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland, the organisation facilitating and supporting the engagement of consumers and carers in the government response to the recommendations from the Barrett Centre Commission of Inquiry (work which includes the co-design of the new facility) also highlighted the important role of those affected by severe and complex adolescent mental health issues in the development of future services.

“… the design of this facility has been informed by meaningful engagement with young people and their families, and recognises their experiences in using mental health services … The input of young people in the development and design of services for young people is critical to providing better mental health services in Queensland.”

Consumers and carers, including former patients from the Barrett Adolescent Centre, who have been involved in the implementation of the recommendations, also spoke today at the ceremony, underlining the commitment of those at Queensland Health responsible for adolescent mental services to the ongoing involvement of the lived experience community in the evolution of a comprehensive and effective suite of services to support those affected.


 

Medical Director, Statewide Extended Treatment campus advertised

It’s likely to be of particular interest to many for whom child and youth mental health issues are important that Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) is now advertising a position of some significance.

CHQ is the state government Hospital and Health Service under which the facility to be constructed at Chermside following the recommendations of the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry will operate as one of the many vital options that young Queenslanders can access through the  Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS).

The position of a Medical Director of a campus focussing on Statewide Extended Treatment is clearly a key role in shaping how the clinical elements of the Model of Service and Model of Care will be delivered and the right kind of leadership and approach will be influential in achieving the best outcomes for the patients and families who access the services offered at that campus. So there are many people hoping for interest from a substantial selection of high calibre candidates with an appropriate management style and collaboration skills as well as excellent clinical qualifications and experience.

With that in mind, this post is to encourage the widespread proliferation of the existence of this vacancy. Because the more people that are aware of this opportunity, the better the chance there is of the appointment of the best Medical Director possible.

The person who fills this position will be pivotal in establishing an environment and tone across a service where those elements can have far-reaching effects – not only on those for whom the right support for severe mental health issues can change the direction of their lives but for the team of professionals who will work collaboratively under the leadership of the Medical Director. And although the title accurately indicates the clinical emphasis of the Director, the campus team for such a service would include staff in important non-medical positions (e.g Education, Administration etc.) whose  input and mutual engagement with those with clinical expertise must be as valued and intrinsically linked to the goals and values of the facility as any other professional contributor. The right Medical Director will be able to unite all those who stay, work at or visit the campus  to create the kind of healing community that provides the outcomes deserved by those affected by the mental health issues the campus aims to address. And his/her leadership and management style will engender a workplace where  dedicated professionals with a range of skills and experience will seek to be able to make a contribution when they know that will be valued, stimulating and productive.

So there can be no doubt that this is a role of significant opportunity and influence in an area where professional and interpersonal attributes beyond those solely medical will be fundamental.

The link to the advertisement for this role is:

https://www.seek.com.au/job/37690108?type=standard

or you can click on the image below to take you there directly.

Please share this post and/or the link above as widely as you can.

Thank you.

Inquest into deaths of Barrett Centre young people begins

Today was the first day of the inquest into the tragic deaths of Talieha Nebauer, Will Fowell and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker.

Being overseen by Deputy State Coroner John Lock, the entire process is scheduled to run across a number of weeks, with a number of the parties (i.e. individuals, groups, government bodies etc.) directly involved in the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry (BACCOI) also represented at these proceedings (in some cases by the same legal counsel). Each young person’s situation will be scrutinised over several days before a final procedure where the collective issues will be examined so as to address the need to consider “opportunities to improve management of the risk of suicide“, as noted in the prioritised issues listed on the Inquest Schedule.

It has been a long and difficult wait for the families who lost young people more than four years ago. Many of the others involved – politicians, those involved in professional roles etc. – have been able to go on with their lives since the days in 2014 when those close to Talieha, Will and Caitlin were forced to face an existence without those they loved. And then again then since the procedure and conclusion of the BACCOI. But since the COI took a clear position to not encroach on any areas that could relate to an inquest – those being in the Coroner’s jurisdiction – Justice Margaret Wilson was not in a position to provide families with the answers they have needed. In fact, due to the time constraints of the COI, it was deemed necessary to ‘draw a line in the sand’ as regards a timeframe for consideration of consequences of the closure:

“This temporal limitation meant that the Commission’s factual inquiry started at the beginning of the transition and ended around one month after the transition client’s discharge from the BAC. The Commission’s terms of reference, and its factual inquiry, do not extend to a consideration of the following matters:

  • the immediate cause or root causes of the deaths of the three young people who died in 2014 who had formerly been patients of the BAC
  • whether those deaths were caused by or contributed to or affected by the closure of the BAC in early 2014
  • whether those deaths were caused by or contributed to or affected by the transition arrangements or the adequacy of care provided by the various receiving services.

Those are matters for the Coroner.”

Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry Report
p 385 of printed document, p 398 of pdf (
Click here to access)

This earlier post may provide more clarity on the relation of the findings of the COI to the coronial inquest. But it is clear that the Coroner’s office, in holding a combined inquest procedure for the three young people, has determined that the closure of the Barrett Centre must be examined as a factor in the deaths as, tragically, that is the key event that links all three.

This will be an extremely challenging process for those who have been emotionally affected by the losses of Talieha, Will and Caitlin and by the closure of the Barrett Centre. To relive trauma numerous times is a debilitating experience and to have to do so in a formal legal arena where events, accounts and perspectives will be questioned by those defending the positions of other individuals and groups will be gruelling.

It is rare to find anyone in our communities these days who has not been impacted by mental health issues in some way so we know that many people will be feeling for those whose lives have been changed dramatically because of severe and complex mental health issues in adolesence. And particularly now for those who lost three treasured young people. So perhaps, as the news reports are filed and the lawyers quoted, we should all keep in mind that this inquest is about 

TALIEHA

WILL

and 

CAITLIN

There are many people who have never, and will never, forget them.

So may this process provide the answers that these three deserve.


Note: Coverage by the ABC Radio’s ‘The World Today’ program can be listened to by clicking here.

All reporting on this and on other issues related to severe and complex mental youth health can be found on our In the Media‘ page.

Opportunities to be involved in developments in mental health research and treatment

LIVED EXPERIENCE has genuinely moved from being a careful phrase to describe those impacted by mental health issues to being acknowledged as a significant asset in the development of all areas of analysis, understanding and treatment of such issues. Those who KNOW having gone from being INVISIBLE to being INCLUDED (thanks to the dynamic work of some very proactive people) and finally being VALUED.

And those who’ve been personally affected by mental health issues so often feel that they want to do what they’re able to help others to whom they can relate … it seems that experiencing health issues that can so comprehensively affect your thoughts, emotions and the way you live your life breeds deep compassion. The Lived Experience community is made up of some very strong and empathetic individuals.

If you are – or you know someone who might be – interesting in making a contribution to some innovations in mental health approaches, here are some opportunities to consider:

OPENING OF PEER CENTRE AT THOMPSON INSTITUTE

WHEN:   10am, Thursday 27th September
WHERE: Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute
USC (University of the Sunshine Coast)
12 Innovation Parkway, Birtinya.

This is an informal morning tea event to celebrate the opening of the PEER Centre at the Thompson Institute where the focus is on integrating mental health research, clinical services and teaching. It’s a great chance to go and see what the PEER Centre has to offer and celebrate the opportunities the Thompson Institute is creating for people who use mental health services to be proactively engaged in education and research.

All are welcomed. For more information or if you have the chance to RSVP, you can contact Chérie McGregor, Consumer Services Coordinator at the Thompson Institute on (07) 5456 3893 or at cmcgreg1@usc.edu.au


JOIN ADVISORY GROUP OVERSEEING THE EVALUATION FRAMEWORK FOR THE NEW ADOLESCENT EXTENDED TREATMENT FACILITY

Expressions of Interest are being sought for the positions of one consumer and one carer member of the Advisory Group to be chaired by the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) tasked with developing an Evaluation Framework for the new adolescent extended treatment facility due to commence operation in 2020. As key stakeholders, consumer/carer input is vital to ensure relevance and appropriateness of the evaluation framework from both technical and service user perspectives.

It’s anticipated that the commitment will require 3 to 4 meetings of about 4 hours each with all other details available here via the Expression of Interest (EOI) form to be submitted through Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) via email to Leonie Sanderson: leonie.sanderson@hcq.org.au by COB Friday 12 October 2018.  Please phone Leonie on 0437 637 033 for any queries including if you are interested in applying but are unable to submit by this date.


QLD HEALTH VICTIM SUPPORT SERVICE LOOKING FOR CONSUMER/CARER MEMBER FOR GROUP DEVELOPING RESTORATIVE JUSTICE APPROACH IN MENTAL HEALTH AND FORENSIC MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Restorative justice is an approach that involves the use of an independent trained facilitator working with people who are victims of violence, and a person involved in committing harm, with the aim of repairing harm. Restorative approaches have been used with success over twenty years in across different systems, including youth justice, education, adult criminal justice, community conflict as well as in other health settings and although they have not been used in mental health and forensic mental health services in Australia, their use has been growing since 2012 in England in mental health and forensic mental health services, and forensic mental health services in Calgary and the Netherlands.   

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are being sought from carers and/or consumers with an interest in participating in the development of an innovative approach to how mental health and forensic mental health services respond to violence to participate in this stakeholder group.  You can download the EOI form here to be submitted by Tuesday 2nd October 2018 and if you have any enquiries, you can contact:
Michael Power
Director, Queensland Health Victim Support Service on
0428 594 119 or michael.power2@health.qld.gov.au


 

Consultation with young people and carers on Brisbane North mental health services

The Brisbane North PHN is seeking Expressions of Interest from young people and parents/carers to participate in some focused consultations around their experience accessing child and youth mental health services in Brisbane North region.  They are interested in hearing the experiences of those who have accessed child and youth mental health services themselves, or for someone they care for.

The consultation will take place on
Tuesday 25th September
from
10am to 12noon

$80 Gift cards will be offered to young people and parents/carers who are invited to attend. 

Click here for further information and for the Expression of Interest form (due by Thursday 20th September 2018).

For further explanation on the purpose, key questions, process of review and existing services, click here to download a Background Paper with more detail on those issues. 

Consumers and Carers NEEDED on Steering Committee for New Adolescent Treatment Facility

KEY ROLES on this VITAL STEERING COMMITTEE are available for YOUNG PEOPLE, FORMER YOUNG PEOPLE AND CARERS WITH EXPERIENCE IN SEVERE  & COMPLEX ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES …

This is a unique opportunity to help shape how the new Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility at Chermside will operate along with all the key issues that will ensure it genuinely meets the needs of the young people of Queensland who were failed by the closure of the Barrett Centre.

This community has gone from being ignored to being included at ‘the top table’. This Steering Committee makes the decisions on the design and layout of the centre, its model of care, staffing, education component … all the aspects that, if done correctly, will take young people from lives of isolation and continual distress to a place of hope, ongoing support along with independent abilities and skills and having the best chance at a productive adult life with personal satisfaction and achievement.

BUT WITHOUT THOSE WHO KNOW WHAT IS REALLY NEEDED, THIS WON’T HAPPEN!

As previous consumer and carer reps can attest, you will be thoroughly and understandingly supported throughout your involvement by Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) and specialists in mental health. This is not a token gesture, you will be respected and have opportunities to say what’s needed within an environment that acknowledges your personal expertise. You can influence how the centre works and so ensure that young people in need become young people with promising futures. AND, you will receive remuneration for your time and reimbursement of expenses – info here.

For more information, you can go to this HCQ web page (i.e. at http://www.hcq.org.au/aetf-steering-committee-consumers-and-carers/ ) and, although Expressions of Interest (EOI) close on Friday 10th of August, if you think you might to apply but you’re unable to do so by this date, you can contact Leonie Sanderson, HCQ’s specialist Engagement Advisor on this issue, (on 0437 637 033 or via email at Leonie.Sanderson@hcq.org.au) to indicate your interest and for assistance in lodging your EOI. So if it’s after the 10th of August when you’re reading this, it may still not be too late.

This is a great opportunity to shape the future of adolescent mental health services for those impacted severely. Without those who’ve seen what’s lacking and what happens when that’s the case, the potential to create the most effective new treatment centre may never be reached.

YOU KNOW WHAT’S BEEN MISSING, YOU KNOW WHAT’S BEEN WRONG, YOU KNOW HOW THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED YOU … NOW YOU CAN MAKE IT RIGHT!

Please consider putting in an Expression of Interest today!