Have your say(ing) on the new Centre!

Your inspirational quotes required for the walls of the gym of the Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre

Today, as part of the co-design process, a group of young people/consumers took part in a furnishing and fit-outs planning session to select a range of sheets, aprons, seat coverings and wall vinyls for the new inpatient centre currently under construction at Chermside. They all agreed they’d like to see inspirational quotes on the wall of the gym, designed in a contemporary graphic style.

Inspirational quotes will replace the colourful abstract design on the wall in this 3D rendering of the AETC gym

SO THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE YOUR MARK on the place founded on values that include some of the following:

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) – the Hospital and Health Service that has responsibility for the new centre – will consider all quotes submitted. They can be from your personal experience or perhaps an authored quote that has resonated for you and could encourage the young people staying at the Centre to continue their courageous journey to recovery. Any appropriate quotes that can’t be fitted into the gym wall design will be considered for wall decals that may be included in other areas of the building.

A suggested –but not essential – format for your ‘quote’ is:

This too shall pass” – Kayden

SO …

Please use the comment box below to submit your quotes and severeyouthmentalhealth.org will pass all your suggestions on to CHQ for consideration at the end of September 2019. (If you’d like to pass something on but not have your input on display online, you can email your suggestions to Leonie Sanderson of Health Consumers Queensland and she will pass on your ideas for consideration.)

And YOU could end up providing inspiration to generations of young Queenslanders for whom all support will be truly invaluable!


 

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NEWS: Model of Service for new Centre; Carers Forum

MODEL OF SERVICE (MOS) FOR NEW ADOLESCENT EXTENDED TREATMENT CENTRE (AETC)

Independent Review of MOS

With Dr Paul Robertson engaged as an external consultant in March to provide independent clinical and expert advice on putting the theoretical Model of Service into operation terms, Queensland Health have now made Dr Robertson’s report available online:
– in summary (click linked text to access) and
– in full (click linked text to access) 
Other info and links can be found under the NEWS section of the YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PAGES of the Queensland Health website.

VISUAL MOS

The visual Model of Service can also be viewed via the same page of the QH site or you can go directly to the 2 page document by clicking on the image below:


CARERS FORUM (October)

ARAFMI – originally started as an association for carers of those with mental health issues whose aim is now to “enhance the wellbeing of people with mental illness, their families, carers and volunteers” – is holding their Becoming Visible Carers Forum 2019 on 15th October (during National Carers Week) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

As an opportunity for carers of someone with a mental illness to connect with others, hear from industry guest speakers and obtain the latest information about the person they care for this could be an invaluable day for many.

The forum is FREE to attend but spaces are limited so to find out more and/or REGISTER, click on the ARAFMI logo below.


 

 

YOUR involvement in POSITIVE CHANGE

Mental Health issues – especially those that are severe and complex which have a serious impact on those around a young person directly facing the challenges – put those with lived experience in an almost impossible position …

YOU are the ones who know best about the most important aspects of service provision (whether the right services are available to achieve the progress that’s desperately needed)

BUT

YOU are dealing with mental health issues – and that takes time, can limit your ability to do things (to the point of everything feeling totally overwhelming) and can mean that you have had enough difficult experiences with service providers that the idea of doing anything beyond just surviving just can’t be on your radar

WE KNOW THAT YOUR SITUATION CAN MEAN YOU CAN’T ALWAYS BE INVOLVED IN THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE 

Even those with the biggest hearts and the greatest determination will find themselves needing to focus solely on getting through the next minute and then the next and then the next … So doing anything that isn’t part of that ‘just holding on‘ isn’t possible.

BUT

  1. If you can pass on opportunities to others (e.g. using social media can mean just a few clicks) you’ve done something that will help; and
  2.  If you feel you could spend a few minutes online, there are often ways to do that that don’t mean an ongoing commitment (see below).

Of course when you’re able to get a little more involved and still take care of your health, there are groups in your community and projects underway where you can participate more regularly and in different ways. So you can see what you might be able to do when you

There are many ways that you and those you know can be heard so that you, those close to you and people you don’t even know will get better help.
Better healthcare.
Better education.
Better support to help you towards a life where you can do more. And feel better.

 

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY VIA THE …

National Mental Health Commission CONNECTIONS SURVEY

The National Mental Health Commission aims to “consult and engage with all Australians on the 2030 Vision for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention“.  So their Connections project is to be a nation-wide conversation about the future of mental health and suicide prevention in Australia. The Commission will be visiting 23 communities across Australia to hold Town Hall meetings to which anyone with lived experience of mental health is invited to attend. If you can’t be at the Town Hall meetings you can share your stories and experiences in relation to mental health, suicide prevention and wellbeing ONLINE by clicking on the following link.

CONNECTIONS PROJECT ONLINE SURVEY

The survey closes on the 8th of September 2019

And you find out more about the Connections Project overall by clicking on the image below..
If you can share this with your network of friends, family and colleagues so that the right information gets to the people who can make the changes, that would be great. But if now is a time you need to focus on you, know there will be ways for you to have you say when you’re able.

Thanks for caring.
About others and for yourself.

Those are two best things that you can do.

*

Understanding is the positive way forward

This isn’t a typical post for severeyouthmentalhealth.org – not even for one of our BLOG posts. But so many important topics overflowed from these recent statements in relation to youth mental health issues that we just had to comment. The real problem was knowing where to start! But here we go …

Yesterday, Andrew Bolt, an Australian media commentator, wrote a column in the Herald Sun newspaper the subject of which was Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist whose personal protest on climate change inaction grew into a worldwide phenomenon that she continues to lead. *

Click to enlarge in new window

As you’ll see by the areas highlighted by us above, he chose to make the mental health issues that Greta deals with the thrust of his story. He chose to refer to her as “deeply disturbed“, “strange” and “fragile“. So not only did Andrew Bolt deny the science of climate change about which Greta has proven to be so well-informed but he showed himself to be as ignorant as too many sadly are in relation to complex youth mental health issues.

There are many ways to respond.

 

This is how Greta Thunberg did it:

 

Our inclination is to list some key facts in order to directly address those affected by severe and complex youth mental health issues who may have read Mr Bolt’s column:

1. We are not our health issues. Our identity comes from many things with some of it becoming evident in the ways we choose to express our values. But who we truly are is not delineated by our liver malfunction, by our malignant cells or by our mental health issues.

2. We cannot be defined by our chronological age. We can be shaped by our physical and cognitive development (which are result of our unique genetic make-up and experiences within the environment/s in which we have lived), by our interests and principles and abilities and … more. Our chronological age can be linked to a number of those things but the fact alone that we 16, 60 or 6 gives little indication of who a person is.

So – ‘The World’ will never see us as we truly and perfectly are – each human being is so many things making up a multi-faceted individual that even those close to us will never know us absolutely. 100%. And that’s OK. But we show aspects of ourselves through the words we choose to share (and who we choose share them with) and the actions that we take.

3. Our words and actions have implications for others. We can think only of ourselves and what suits our personal agenda or we can consider other people and how what we say and do will impact them.

4. The truth can hurt but there is no excuse for using misinformation to hurt.

5. We can choose to be negative or we can choose to be positive.

So – we can find ways to make things bad, we can criticise … we can create a persona that engenders fear from statements that aren’t true because, sadly, that can garner enough interest from a public so desperate to ensure they are prepared for the worst that advertisers will pay for your house and your boss’s mansion and his boss’s castle.
OR we can think about what we can do that could be useful, helpful, kind. To others and to ourselves. We can use positive words – encourage ourselves, compliment others, share inspiring/funny/exciting things, discuss solutions to a problem. We can take positive actions – do a chore that isn’t ours to do, make someone laugh, find a productive way to contribute to important issues or causes that matter to us, … and on a day we feel we can’t do anything at all, to just try and do one thing is something to be proud of.

Greta Thunberg is many things. 
Continuing to manage a number of health issues is not her identity but it shows that, with the right treatment and support, individuals can apply their specific skills and passions to learning and understanding, sharing knowledge, inspiring and energising others, trying to improve some part of living in the world.

So here’s our improvement on the headline for an article about what Greta Thunberg is doing:

To share this image on social media, right click (ctrl+click on Mac) to choose to Save As… , Copy etc.

 

You can be inspired.

But don’t forget that YOU CAN ALSO BE INSPIRING.

To try to achieve something positive when you have your own challenges is inspirational. It is brave. And strong. Whatever you are trying and whatever the outcome.

And to those who are yet to have a good understanding of the reality of severe and complex mental health issues, all of the above also applies.
It applies to us all.

(Especially me.)

 


Click to go to video

* If you want to find out more about Greta Thunberg’s work (beyond clicking on  the links in the 2nd para above), you can go to the following news reports:

Greta Thunberg: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

School Strike for Climate: Meet 15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg, Who Inspired a Global Movement

16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

and/or view her Tedx Talk by clicking on the image (above right)

A good source of summary information as well as questions and discussion points to engage students and others with news on global events is the edition relating to Greta of The New York Times’ “Learning with …” series.


 

Other severeyouthmentalhealth.org BLOG POSTS can be found here
with NEWS POSTS on the homepage and
via the ‘Previous News’ menu on any page with a sidebar at the right

*KEY ROLES FOR CONSUMERS AND CARERS in Selection of New Centre’s Staff

People with lived experience of severe and complex youth mental health issues have shaped the design of the new inpatient extended treatment centre at Chermside. They have had input into the model of care. AND NOW …

THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT ON THE SELECTION PANEL FOR THOSE THAT WILL STAFF THE CENTRE.

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) –the Hospital and Health Service under which the new AETC will operate – is committed to having consumers and carers as equal and valued members of the selection panel that will determine the appointments of professionals in the clinical roles at the Chermside Centre.

 

So Expressions of Interest are being invited now
with applications closing on 19 July
for Consumers and Carers to submit their completed forms.*

Consumer and Carers involved will, as has been the case throughout the development of the AETC, be comprehensively supported by Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) and there will be

  • A 90 minute training session for every consumer/carer who becomes involved in the recruitment process as well as opportunities for pre-brief and post-interview debriefing
  • Reimbursement for travel and parking expenses and
  • Remuneration for time spent training, pre-reading, shortlisting, and interviewing at $40 per hour

We all know that it’s the PEOPLE that make a facility into a HEALING ENVIRONMENT.
And now, it’s those with the personal experience of the types of individuals who can do that whose contributions can lead to the selection of the team who will change lives.

YOU KNOW WHO’S NEEDED.

SO PUT IN AN EXPRESSION OF INTEREST TO BE AT THE TABLE OF THOSE APPOINTING THE STAFF WHO WILL COLLABORATE, RESPECT AND UNDERSTAND.

 

For more information, you can download the following documents:

CHQ on Consumer and Carer Involvement in Staff Recruitment

HCQ’s Recruitment Training

and to put in an Expression of Interest, just click on the link here to download the form.

OR

you can go to the dedicated page on the HCQ website for all you need.

*Note that if you can’t get your form in by 19 July and you still want to apply, you can contact Leonie Sanderson of HCQ on 0437 637 033.

And PLEASE, share this post as widely as possible to give all consumers and carers who might be interested the opportunity to be involved. 

IMPORTANT DECISIONS REQUIRE IMPORTANT PEOPLE 
and the most important people in this process are the Queenslanders who REALLY KNOW about severe and complex youth mental health issues.

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.

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.

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!

Focus on Education

At a time when many adolescents across Queensland are enjoying school holidays, it’s worth remembering that there are no holidays from mental illness. And for a number of young people and their families/carers affected by severe and complex mental health issues, there are, in essence, no schools or education services either.

When the idea of leaving home induces vomiting, then attendance at a local school – often the site of past traumas and definitely a place of multiple sources of stress – is impossible. …
When speaking online to participate in Distance Education is so overwhelming  that considering it triggers extreme anxiety, …
what is left to allow you to be part of your peer group, a member of society; discovering ways to learn and interact and develop towards a productive adult life??


People with direct experience with severe and complex youth mental health issues know that the right healthcare is essential. But they’re also aware that even the understanding and inclusive treatment from trusted clinicians is often not enough to bring a stable foundation to lives that have been impacted in EVERY respect.

The Queensland Department of Education School that was part of the Barrett Adolescent Centre at Wacol was a real-life illustration of the vital role that supportive specialised education, training and rehabilitation plays in enabling young people to develop the skills and abilities that will be the basis of a future of social interaction, personal achievement, acquisition of lifeskills and of the fundamentals of learning that can lead to vocational/academic pursuits. And more. Through a carefully planned education environment and program, young people who have been disengaged from education and from social/community activities for an extended period can discover their potential, interests and hope for the future. This is vital. Particularly when an unsuitable educational/social environment is likely to have already exacerbated many aspects of their challenging mental health conditions. This means that a comprehensively student-focussed approach – one that acknowledges their vulnerabilities and respects their worth – is the only way to facilitate a path back to a life of growth and accomplishment. And surely every young person deserves the opportunity to live that kind of life – especially considering the trauma they’ve already endured and the unfair hand they have been dealt in relation to their health.

So, it’s extremely positive that the Department of Education are partnering with the Health Department during the current stage of development of services for young people following the recommendations from the BAC Commission of Inquiry.

Consumers and carers continue to advocate for ALL the needs of the young people for whom services have been lacking for so long. So, with the help of Health Consumers Queensland, the consumer/carer representatives directly involved in the ongoing co-design of services have pressed for a strong focus on the education and rehabilitation component of the new facility to be built at Chermside. And, in addition, they continue to promote the importance of educational components that will complement other services with the continuum of care for young people with mental health issues e.g. Step Up/ Step Down programs, young people accessing AMYOS support in the community … etc. When mental health issues affect EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE, then EVERY ASPECT OF A YOUNG PERSON’S LIFE MUST BE STRUCTURED TO ENABLE POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS (and not undermine effective healthcare or aggravate the ongoing struggle to find appropriate treatment). In the same way that the BAC Inquiry revealed a gap in awareness in health service providers in relation to the existence and needs of the group of young people and their families who endure the complexity and severity at the extreme end of the mental health spectrum, it’s been interesting to note that those handling education service provision can, despite good intentions, have been uninformed about this cohort and what they require. With those affected forced to focus on survival from day-to-day (or even minute-to-minute) and only a small number of educators with expertise and experience in this area, we’re looking for ways to spread the word about the importance of specialised education in the multidisciplinary approach to supporting those affected by severe and complex youth mental health issues. So, with that in mind, this post is to provide links to information at severeyouthmentalhealth.org that might help to achieve that

 

The introductory Education & Training page

(shortlink: https://wp.me/P7lCk2-qe)
outlines a couple of major reasons that expert education and rehabilitation will always be an essential component in the range of services required by this cohort.

 

The Inpatient School: Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility

(shortlink: https://wp.me/P7lCk2-qw)
explains how the school within a residential youth mental health facility with a multidisciplinary approach needs to operate to play the educational role that is key in affecting positive change for young people for whom the severity and complexity of their mental health issues has meant that no other treatment or education options have been effective.

 

The Support School: Community-based Young People

(shortlink: https://wp.me/P7lCk2-qy)
is likely to be a revelation to many as the students who require this service had not been acknowledged as a specific group different to those within the severe and complex cohort who require extended inpatient treatment until recently. However, thanks to the support of the Queensland Education Department for the Barrett School (which has continued operation since closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre in January 2014), young people still able to engage with community-based mental health services have been referred to the relocated Barrett School at Tennyson because there has been no EDUCATION service to meet their needs. Their needs have parallels with the ‘extended inpatient cohort’ but there are clear and distinct differences in the approach and management of an education program and environment to meet the specific needs of this community-based group.

 

The Future of Education in Severe Youth Mental Health

(shortlink: https://wp.me/P7lCk2-r7)
describes some possible options for continuing to address the needs of young Queenslanders whose mental health issues compromise every aspect of their lives – and that of their families/carers – in an era when no one can deny that mental illness needs to be the Number One Priority in addressing the needs of young people.

 

We hope that you’ll share some of the information on these pages wherever you can. And we’ll continue to update you about progress in the vital area of EDUCATION for those affected by SEVERE AND COMPLEX YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.
Because, essentially, education is not simply a priority for our most vulnerable young people, it should be a priority for service providers (government, NGOs and private) and, of course for all of us seeking to better understand the communities we live in and needs of our family members, friends and neighbours.