An HOLISTIC and INTEGRATED Approach is VITAL
Patients must have access to a full range of treatment, education and training services that will meet their individual needs to enable them to be as well as possible and as functioning as possible to enter adult life. So any service must be part of an integrated network that includes:
- Treatment (ranging from community, residential and hospital services for Children, Adolescents, Families and Adults and including drug and alcohol treatment/rehab)
- Vocational/Academic Consultation, Training and Service Provision
- Training for Independent Living
- Justice/Legal Support services
- Financial/Disability Support Services
- Housing/Accommodation Support
as appropriate for the individual.
These services must have regular, formalised lines of contact and established forums for communication not only to provide the best service to ‘consumers’ but to provide professional support for practitioners dealing with individuals whose lives encompass the full range of fields of operation and need. Treating a mental illness cannot be done in isolation from the other aspects of a patient’s life so having an understanding of the person as a whole is the most effective way to achieving progress. So anyone treating/teaching/assisting a particular young person should be in regular contact with anyone else treating/teaching/assisting that young person.
A Full Suite of Services for a True Continuum of Care
In order for there to be a true continuum of care, needs of ALL adolescents with mental health issues must be met. An extended treatment facility would be continually interactional with the full range of services from which and to which young people would be transitioning.
Allowing for entry at any level and movement between levels of care as appropriate, services must be well documented and all service providers – both government, private and NGO – must be aware of the full range of services in the continuum. (Clinicians in the acute wards must know what Step Down services are available, private clinicians must know what is available for those young people with more complex, treatment resistant or persistent conditions etc.)
With all services linked and operating as part of a comprehensive integrated model, young people and their families will have access to the right kind of support at theright time in their treatment to fit the nature of their challenges. Young people whose conditions are too severe and complex to continue to be treated in the community can access Tier 3 extended inpatient treatment while those transitioning from such a service will have the full complement of support and treatment services to ensure a successful transition and continuation of their recovery. And in order the ACCESS any of these services, there must be clear referral pathways that enable the needs of any young person to be met as quickly and easily as possible.
Any Queensland youth mental health service MUST have an up-to-date knowledge of the full range of services and how young people can access each of those services. This will enable the best and earliest intervention and achieve the best results – reducing suffering and ensuring efficiency of service operations.