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Title: Equitable access for young people to mental health services in regional Victoria: Is it really possible?
Authors: Rowse, Julie
Fitzgibbon, Tara
Issue Date: 2012
Conference Name: 4th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium
Conference Date: November 19-21, 2012
Conference Place: Adelaide, South Australia
Abstract: There is a young person living in a large regional city in Victoria experiencing early psychotic symptoms. Their family contact the local area mental health service, an assessment is conducted followed by a review by the psychiatrist and treatment is commenced. Weekly appointments assist the young person and their family to understand the disorder, the importance of treatment engagement, learn the early signs to prevent relapse and the young person recovers. What happens to the young person living on a farm outside a small rural town in western Victoria who is experiencing early symptoms of a psychosis? We heard from our rural families about how inaccessible our service was. When setting up a youth specific mental health service, we committed to providing equitable access to client centred, family inclusive, and evidence based mental health treatment to young people across our region. The Grampians Region extends 48,000 square kilometres from the outer suburbs of Melbourne to the South Australian border. Availability of optimal mental health treatment in the rural areas has long been less than adequate. During the service redesign process a conscious decision was made to allocate twenty-five percent of the clinical positions to the Wimmera area, the most rural and isolated part of our region. All clinical positions were successfully filled as health professionals were attracted to the integrated model of work where they are able to engage in early intervention, mental health promotion and contemporary mental health treatment. Mental health clinicians were provided with training in evidence based, psychosocial intervention, and supported with targeted supervision and the regular presence of senior staff, the clinical manager and consultant psychiatrist. With the support of the hospital board and effective leadership, you can establish a critical mass of well trained staff so the young person out on the farm gets the same treatment as the one in the large regional city.
Internal ID Number: 00619
Type: Conference
Appears in Collections:Research Output

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