Why …

descriptions… do adolescents with severe and complex mental health issues need more/different services than young people dealing with depression, anxiety or other less complicated diagnoses?

You might think that they might just need more sessions or to see several different  kinds of clinicians. And they will have given those options a try – if they’re able to – before the need for something else becomes apparent. But if a young person has a number of mental health issues all impacting on them at once, those issues can interact to create a whole new range of challenges – and those can’t be addressed by the services that help with less severe conditions (i.e. when there are multiple challenges co-existing within one person, the resultant behaviors, symptoms and outcomes are a unique concoction – not simply a more extreme version of a single issue or a list of issues having separate effects).

In severe cases, young people often isolate themselves from family, peers and the wider community. This not only exacerbates destructive or harmful behaviour and creates an artificial and unhealthy existence but it cuts off the key catalysts for social, emotional and cognitive growth – the areas that are vital if a teenager is to develop into a fully functioning, independent adult.MentalHealth&DevelopmentSo, when this happens, only an intensive, multidisciplinary approach like EXTENDED INPATIENT TREATMENT, REHABILIATION AND EDUCATION can begin to stop – and alter – the trajectory of this downward spiral.

An extended inpatient service not only provides comprehensive treatment through direct therapeutic forums but it allows adolescents to grow developmentally in the ways adolescents need to but, in these circumstances, have been previously unable to. With opportunities to practice their social skills and observe those of others as well as have appropriate interactions in a range of situations supported and modelled by staff, their social isolation can begin to be redressed. With access to instant feedback and support in a variety of settings – inside the facility, in the school and out in the community – 24 hours a day, this thorough approach couldn’t be replicated beyond the extended treatment environment. In addition, with staff able to make observations in a range of settings and situations, they are then better able to tailor interventions and therapy to assist each young person’s development. The peer interaction (again, across settings) is also invaluable and has the added advantage of finally allowing a young person to not feel alone in their suffering. With peers going through similar issues in a safe and supportive environment, they can not only learn a range of ways to deal with shared issues and develop peer-to-peer social interaction skills but gain the invaluable insight of knowing that they are not as isolated as they have been feeling (often for years) in their own home environment.

So …specialised EXTENDED INPATIENT TREATMENT, REHABILIATION AND EDUCATION is essential for young people with severe and complex mental health issues because

These adolescents often become isolated …

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… which makes it impossible for community-based care to make an impact (and acute care is only appropriate in crisis situations to ensure safety and re-stabilise) …

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… so something more intensive, provided by a specialist multidisciplinary team in a purpose-built environment is the only kind of treatment that has a chance of helping …

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… and once a foundation is laid and progress begins, extended care can gradually reconnect an adolescent back to their community and to treatment options that can continue the improvement.

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