Pro­gram boost for youth

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A pro­gram to tackle se­ri­ous youth men­tal health is­sues in the Pil­bara has started, with two full-time so­cial work­ers re­cruited to coun­sel young peo­ple from across the re­gion both in-per­son and via video con­fer­enc­ing.

Two full-time youth spe­cial­ists, one based in Kar­ratha and Roe­bourne and one in Port Hed­land, have been ap­pointed and started run­ning the WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice’s Pil­bara Youth Men­tal Health Pro­gram as of late last month.

The new ser­vice aims to pro­vide early in­ter­ven­tion for Pil­bara res­i­dents aged 16-24 who are at risk of de­vel­op­ing se­ri­ous men­tal health is­sues in­clud­ing psy­chosis, mood dis­or­ders, anx­i­ety dis­or­ders or de­pres­sion.

WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice Pil­bara re­gional direc­tor Ron Wynn said the two new staff were so­cial work­ers with strong men­tal health ex­pe­ri­ence who would work with their young pa­tients to pro­vide tai­lored man­age­ment plans for their con­di­tions. “They will, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the young per­son, de­velop a care plan which may in­clude coun­selling, vo­ca­tional sup­port and med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion,” he said.

“If se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness is ad­dressed at this age, it is hoped these peo­ple can live ful­fill­ing lives, be em­ployed and con­trib­ute to the com­mu­nity.”

As well as in-per­son lo­cal con­sul­ta­tions, the pro­gram will also fea­ture video­con­fer­enc­ing with young peo­ple across the re­gion and col­lab­o­ra­tion with the ex­ist­ing Pil­bara child and ado­les­cent and Abo­rig­i­nal men­tal health teams.

Men­tal Ill­ness Fel­low­ship of WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Monique Wil­liams said youth was a “vul­ner­a­ble time for the de­vel­op­ment of men­tal health is­sues” when stres­sors such as iso­la­tion, poor phys­i­cal health, sub­stance abuse and trauma, could trig­ger prob­lems.

It will re­ceive $1.8 mil­lion fund­ing per year as part of the broader Pil­bara Men­tal Health Ser­vice.

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