*Emotional trigger warning – content involves suicide*
7th May 2019
What an amazing day I have had today! I met with a fantastic organisation called Headspace, at their Nundah branch. I was fortunate to spend time with the community engagement co-ordinator and the clinical services manager.
What struck me about this service was the wrap-around care they provide. Young people aged 12 to 25 years can self-refer and get access to mental health services, a GP, a dietitian, work and study support, alcohol and drug services – all under one roof. And what a roof that was! An old bank that they have transformed into a friendly, colourful centre, with non-gendered toilets. Yet more impressive is the fact that the young people they work with helped design the centre.
Headspace also have a youth reference group which helps them to design support programmes and enables consultation to ensure they provide services that young people request. Young people can stay with the service as long as they want to, some are with them from age 12 to 25! Headspace also works with schools, to deliver assemblies and train teachers in mental health support. They can have 10 therapeutic sessions every calendar year.
All of this made me reflect on how fortunate we are at NWCH Lincoln to be able to provide our funded clients with 21 sessions, yet that’s unfortunately the maximum available from our funding sources. It appears to be so much easier here in Australia to receive government funding for support services and furthermore, that counselling and therapy is highly valued.
Headspace are supporting young people with suicidal ideation and intention, and they document how their support really helps young people to find hope again. I am in awe of the set-up they have and the funded services they are able to provide. What a fantastic model of support and one that we can but aspire to in the United Kingdom. You can read more about Headspace Nundah here: https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/nundah/
This afternoon I met a man called Conrad Townson from Children & Young People Solutions. We both used to work in North Wales but in different eras, so a mutual contact put us in touch. Conrad moved out here 3 years ago and is helping Australian authorities to better understand CSE – child sexual exploitation, and identify it at the earliest possible stage. He trains organisations to spot the signs and symptoms of CSE and has established an innovative CSE panel. We know young people who experience CSE are more at risk of suicidal ideation and/or intention, so being able to spot the signs and symptoms earlier reduces this risk and the risk of CSE. What a remarkable man with a clear passion to make a difference in the world of CSE. Great work Conrad! You can read more about his business here: www.cypsolutions.com.au