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.
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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.

Preliminary Model of Service for New Facility

NEWS

After three workshops where people with lived experience collaborated with clinicians, education staff and government planners, Queensland Health have today released the preliminary Model of Service (MoS) for the new adolescent extended treatment facility in the grounds of Prince Charles Hospital with the following explanation:

The preliminary Model of Service has been released on the COI Implementation team website at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/improvement/youthmentalhealth/model-of-service/ and you are invited to provide comments to inform ongoing development. This opportunity is open until Friday 17 February, 2017.  If you are aware of other people (individuals or organisations) who may be interested in the model of service and contributing comments you are welcome to provide the link to them.

Health Consumers Queensland will continue to work closely with the Department to support the engagement and involvement of consumers and carers in implementation of the Government response to all recommendations. Consumers and carers are encouraged to contact the appointed Engagement Advisor Leonie Sanderson should they wish to contribute to a group response (http://www.hcq.org.au/our-work/barrett-inquiry/).

As well as being available on the government website, the document is also available here.

Note:  A Model of Service doesn’t aim to describe the day-to-day operations of such a facility. It is a high level document which guides the direction taken by a service – defining
WHO the service is for;
WHAT it hopes to ACHIEVE and
WHAT it intends to DO
.
So anyone with an interest in mental healthcare can provide their input at this level to ensure that those who are currently not catered for in government healthcare service provision will finally have an option that will aid their recovery.

Everyone with any interest in Queensland’s health services, mental health issues and adolescent mental healthcare is urged to look through the Model and give feedback.

This can be done in several different ways:

1) By using the survey form that Queensland Health has made available here.

2) By providing a written response via email to the Commission of Inquiry Implementation Team – Preliminary Model of Service at EDyouthmentalhealth@health.qld.gov.au  or

3) By contacting Leonie Sanderson at Health Consumers Queensland to have input into a group response.

The only way to ensure  that the best possible service becomes available to Queenslanders in need of genuinely effective adolescent extended mental healthcare, education and rehabilitation is to have a say about what is needed NOW.

*

 

What does ‘SEVERE & COMPLEX’ ADOLESCENT mental health issues MEAN?

NEWS

Very few people know.

Quite a few people think they know … but they don’t.

So, as is often the case, education is the answer.

If there is genuine understanding of an issue, most people’s needs will be met. So, in endeavouring to ensure that the needs of those affected by severe and complex adolescent mental health issues are met, those advocating for the right services are gathering information from the people who know – the people who’ve experienced those issues.

If this is you or someone you know, we need your input … so that we can make sure YOU and those close to you … AND others like you … get the best help in future.

We need to put together stories, snapshots, insights into what it’s like living with severe and complex mental health issues during adolescence – for the young people, for their carers, for their families and their friends. 

So if you can tell us just a little, we can put together some examples that resonate with truth but without identifying any individual or contravening anyone’s privacy. We can paint a clear picture of what it feels like to:

  • be turned away from an Emergency Department
  • be denied access to services because you’re TOO unwell
  • have to retell your history over and over again to psychiatrists, psychologists, CYMHS staff
  • etc.

AND what it feels like to:

  • get the right support so that you can attend school
  • work with a clinician who respects your input and acknowledges your strengths
  • build a life with functional relationships and moments of peace
  • etc.

Only your own stories can describe what it’s like. And we know that it’s not easy to tell those stories. So Health Consumers Qld have put together some questions to provide a framework for people to provide their insights. So that we can educate people – the people in positions that will determine the services available to support those dealing with severe and complex adolescent mental health issues.

Click on the links below to have your say – the good, the bad, the unimaginable. If the government officials, medical professionals and bureaucrats don’t know what’s happening to you, they can’t improve the system, the type/amount of support or the approach/attitude of clinical staff etc.

The good things must be replicated and shared.
The bad things must be prevented from impacting people’s lives ever again.

So please fill us in about your significant experiences and knowledge of what works/doesn’t work (AND/OR encourage others to do so) via:

Snapshot for consumers/young people

and

Snapshot for family/carers

and you can provide a brief history with this story template.

Then we’ll be able to educate people about what you’re dealing with (while you remain anonymous). And we can push even harder for better services so that, in the future, you’ll have only good stories to tell.

Progress in Youth Mental Health Planning

NEWS

Queensland Health now have a website that deals specifically with their actions in relation to the Barrett Adolescent Centre Closure Commission of Inquiry. This will provide information on plans for the new extended treatment and education facility as well as other related developments and, along with this site and the dedicated page at Health Consumers Queensland, it’ll inform people of ways they can become involved in plans for future services and policies. Regular Communiqués will be posted on this page along with any other news and relevant information. Continue reading

New centre to be built at Prince Charles Hospital + SURVEY announced

NEWS

The Queensland Premier announced today that a new facility for young people with severe and complex mental health issues would be built in the grounds of Prince Charles Hospital at Chermside in Brisbane’s northern suburbs. A site visit was then made where Premier Palaszczuk and Health Minister Cameron Dick were joined by community members directly affected by the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre in January 2014. The Minister had met with families linked to the Barrett Centre yesterday to update them on the progress of the government’s response to the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the closure and reassure them that health service consumers and carers would continue to play a significant role in planning and developments. Continue reading

MENTAL HEALTH WEEK – Time for ACTION

A BLOG POST

It’s Mental Health Week. And in the past, that has meant a lot of awareness-raising, stigma-quashing and acknowledgement of an issue that has for too long been treated like a shameful secret. And that’s all good, useful stuff. But the time has long since passed for more than knowing nods and pleasant words from those with the capacity to DO instead of DISCUSS.

Mental illness needs ACTION. NOW.

Health service providers, governments, mental health commissions/ advocates/ peak bodies and communities must move from rhetoric to establishing equitable service provision immediately. Otherwise how can anyone believe that mental health issues are, in fact, the cruel scourge afflicting millions unfairly as the annual PR tells us? We know they exist. And, thankfully, we now have knowledge of a range of pharmaceutical adjustments, treatment methods and support programs that mean these issues can be addressed. People CAN heal and progress and discover lives without the agony they once believed was infinite. BUT until the money, time and effort allocated to mental health is in line with those physical health issues that have the same level of impact, people affected by mental illness can’t feel as far from personally responsible for their health concerns as those with a blood disease or multiple sclerosis can. Continue reading