Estimates: Health (Youth Mental Health Service)


Dr McFETRIDGE: Regarding Youth Mental Health Services, referring to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 50, under Targets 2014-15 dot point 3 states:

Commence implementation of the Youth Mental Health service provision model across all Country Health South Australia Local Health Network mental health services.

Can you give the committee details on what that entails and what you are hoping to achieve?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: Youth Mental Health Services (YMHS) will work with young people from 16 to 24 years of age who are experiencing mental distress. YMHS will intervene early, assisting young people and their families to develop the skills and support necessary to prevent the disability of long-term chronic mental illness, maintain their support networks and connection to education, employment and community.

YMHS will operate within the adult mental health services of CALHN, Country Health, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) and Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) and will have dedicated funding and staffing resources. The SA Health portfolio executive approved the establishment of the YMHS, which will be operational from 1 September. To encapsulate one of the problems we have at the moment, adolescents often fall between the gaps of child mental health services and adult mental health services, and the policy rationale behind this is to establish a dedicated service for those young people.

State, national and international data demonstrate that young people between 16 and 24 do not receive an adequate service from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services or from adult mental health services. The developmental needs of youth from 16 to 24 are distinct from those of children, adolescents and adults. A dedicated expert YMHS will be able to provide targeted tailored treatment of care that is developmentally appropriate and effective.

Seventy-five per cent of serious mental illness has its onset before the age of 25, and individuals aged 15 to 25 show the highest burden of disease for mental health issues. It is essential that a dedicated expert YMHS is available to provide early intervention treatment and support so that individuals get help early and do not begin a cycle of mental illness and/or psychiatric disability into their adult lives.

Consumers, carers, staff and unions have had continual opportunities to be involved in the development of YMHS model structures and processes since December 2011. Executive staff and unions have participated in the CAMHS Youth Mental Health Implementation Steering Committee and the CAMHS youth union consultative forums since 2012. Broad consultation has occurred with young people, carers, staff, unions, youth, mental health and health stakeholders, other government departments and the general public. This has included the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Council for the Care of Children, and consultations held in locations across the metropolitan area and in country South Australia.

Concerns have been raised, and they include appropriate psychiatric care. As a first preference, youth psychiatrists will be recruited into positions working in YMHS. Where this is not available immediately, adult psychiatrists will be supported through appropriate peer review, case discussion and supervisory processes. The Women's and Children's Health Network have advised that they will support this process and also continue to provide the existing telephone consultancy service for their colleagues in the other local health networks.

Mr GARDNER: I think this probably comes under Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 46:

Developed a New Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) Model of Care which included comprehensive consultation with staff and stakeholders about the future directions for CAMHS.

I think earlier you talked a little bit about a review that was taking place or had been finalised.

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: The review has not started yet, but we have identified a psychiatrist from Melbourne to conduct a review.

Mr GARDNER: What is the time frame of that review?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: Six months.

Mr GARDNER: What are the goals of that review?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: I have been through it. It is in the Hansard. I can provide the information.

Mr GARDNER: My interest stems significantly from a course I undertook with CAMHS through a local group from the Morialta area recently, for youth mental health first aid, something I found incredibly useful. I would be very concerned if there was anything in the review that was likely to see that program defunded. I understand the program works with community groups and also with government services. Is it possible to identify—and feel free to take this on notice, if you would like—the range of government workers, people who work with children, who have accessed that service in the last, say, two years?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: I think we might be talking at cross-purposes. The review I am talking about is a response to the coronial recommendations regarding two suicides, where CAMHS governance was criticised as part of the coronial review. The review is basically looking at the governance structures of CAMHS. In terms of the question of areas being defunded as part of the review, the review is specifically to look at the structure of CAMHS and, in particular, to address the recommendations and the criticisms of the Coroner.

Mr GARDNER: I take some comfort from that, sir, perhaps I would take more comfort if there was the possibility of an explicit statement about this program that currently exists.

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: Which program is this?

Mr GARDNER: The provision of youth mental health first aid. I think it is one staff member, who is probably a 0.6.

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING: I would need to find out more about it. It is not on my radar, but I am happy to find out and provide an answer to the member for Morialta.

Mr GARDNER: Thank you.