Day Programs or Adolescent Day Treatment/ADT services are an important service within the full continuum of care for young people with mental health issues.
They provide an alternative to hospital care for young people with severe and complex mental health issues while also supporting their families and/or carers. As with an AETC, both health and education service providers must collaborate to provide what’s required for those accessing a Day Program. The service should allow young people to:
- remain living at home and engaged in their local community
- attend the program for up to 5 days a week
- be supported to re-integrate back to education and treatment in their local communities.
It should be noted that a Day Program is distinctly different from the service offered by a Support School. A Day program is a healthcare service – that may have an education component – that is for young people in the community whose severe and complex mental health issues put them at high risk i.e. they are likely to be in a (possibly extended) acute phase where their illness is potentially life-threatening. Young people accepted for Day Programs will have been assessed by healthcare experts on a clinical basis after referral.
A Support School is for young people whose mental health issues are significantly challenging but not at such a level of acuity that their life is at risk. However, the level of severity will have meant that no education options (supported /modified attendance, a special or hospital school, distance education etc.) is able to sustain their engagement. Although they are receiving ongoing clinical treatment in their community, their isolation from education and from interaction with much of society puts them risk of losing the opportunity to have a functional, productive future. So a Support School is a bridge to pathways for these young people who suffer from a disability and want options to a future with purpose and satisfaction. It’s the only chance to help them recognise their own potential and support them towards options and choices rather than suffering and seclusion.
You can read more about Support Schools here.