OUR FUTURE

A youth mental health hub is on the cards for the South West

Example: The Peel Health Hub is a youth mental health
Example: The Peel Health Hub is a youth mental health "one stop shop" which GP Down South want to see in the South West. Picture: file image.

GP Down South leaders are hopeful the release of the infant, child and adolescent mental health report will be a step forward in producing a "one stop shop" for the South West.

The WA government released the report on March 15, saying it would "overhaul" the state's system.

The report has 32 recommendations which health minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said the government would commit to implementing.

As part of the recommendations, the report wants the current Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service be "re-imagined" to include infants and have "hubs" located in regional centres which can link to existing and new clinics.

"They [hubs] need to become the 'engine-room'...connecting and supporting local services that support children, families and carers through new consultation liaison and shared care functions," the report states.

GP Down South chief executive Amanda Poller said this particular recommendation would align closely with the organisation's proposal for a mental health hub in Bunbury.

"This report provides an opportunity to publicise how this model can be a solution to a number of its recommendations," she said.

"The public system can't operate in isolation, it needs to integrate a whole health system.

"Which is what we have been pushing for with the health hub model and why it's working so successfully in Peel."

The Peel youth mental health hub was set up three years ago by GP Down South.

In July 2021, GP Down South first told the Mail of its aim to replicate Peel's hub in Bunbury and said it was a unique model with clinical care coordinators that took the patients under their wing, developed a care plan and helped them until the right service was available.

GP Down South business development manager Bonnie Allen said they found in Peel's case the care coordinator reduced the amount of times a patient had to tell their story, provided a central point of contact and alleviated pressure on waitlists by helping the patient navigate the complex health and welfare systems.

2019: Peel Youth Medical Service spokeswoman Eleanor Britton with representatives from all nine Peel Health Hub service providers. Picture: Carla Hildebrandt.

2019: Peel Youth Medical Service spokeswoman Eleanor Britton with representatives from all nine Peel Health Hub service providers. Picture: Carla Hildebrandt.

Ms Pollar said the project represented many of the five pillars the report wanted the government to adopt.

Pillar one is prevention and early intervention, pillar two is enhanced primary care and the third is the Community Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Ms Pollar said a group of committed stakeholders would start meetings in April which would take the project to the next stage in its progression.

It would need multiple funding sources and Ms Pollar said se was hopeful the government's focus on youth mental health would push the project along.

Minister Sanderson said the most immediate challenges from the report would be addressed through the 2022-23 Budget process.

"By working together, we can make a real difference and improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes for our children."

If you need immediate support contact:

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