Multi-faceted ap­proach is key

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - By EMILY BAKER

A NEW men­tal health fa­cil­ity for youths will fo­cus on more than just med­i­ca­tion, con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist Wei Soong says.

Of­fi­cially opened ear­lier this month, the $2.5 mil­lion Youth Axis fa­cil­ity in Wem­b­ley is part of the spe­cial­ist North Metropoli­tan Health Ser­vice Men­tal Health agency, which recog­nises and tar­gets the com­plex needs of peo­ple aged 16-24 across the Perth metropoli­tan area.

Mr Soong said the fa­cil­ity’s multi-dis­ci­plinary team based at the Sal­vado Road fa­cil­ity would travel to young peo­ple of­fer­ing spe­cialised sup­port.

“We are an early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vice so we have a pro­gram de­signed around help­ing peo­ple who have dif­fi­cul­ties with their emo­tional reg­u­la­tion and the staff are also trained to help them deal with that,” Mr Soong said.

“I will of­ten do a psy­chi­atric as­sess­ment re­view but we have so­cial work­ers who do fam­ily work as well. We also have a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist who can do in­di­vid­ual ther­apy and the staff are trained to work one-on-one.”

Four­teen per cent of young peo­ple aged 12-17 years and 27 per cent of young peo­ple aged 18-24 years will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal health prob­lem in any one year, while sui­cide ac­counts for al­most a quar­ter of all deaths in peo­ple aged 20 to 24 years. Youth Men­tal Health direc­tor War­wick Smith said youth ap­pro­pri­ate men­tal health ser­vices were in­te­gral.

“I think the big­gest mes­sage to young peo­ple is if they are con­cerned about men­tal health con­tact some­body who knows some­thing about men­tal health, don’t wait,” he said.

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