Amidst growing concern over mental health issues faced by young people in the city, Canberra Hospital will expand its services to provide specialist mental assessments for people aged between five and 18 on weekends.
ACT Health Minister Shane Rattenbury has announced that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Consultation and Liaison Service at Canberra Hospital will expand to provide services seven days per week – meaning that young people won’t be forced to use adult mental health services on weekends.
The news comes at a time when concerns over young people’s mental health are increasingly under the spotlight with research conducted by Mission Australia last year finding that for the first time, mental health is the number one issue of national concern for young people in Australia.
The 16th Mission Australia National Youth Survey showed that the most common mental health issues for Canberrans aged 15-19 include stress, depression and body image.
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Mr Rattenbury said the expansion of the Canberra Hospital service is the latest action to deliver on the Government’s $3 million commitment towards youth-focused mental health initiatives that better support those in need.
“Expanding the liaison service will deliver better mental health outcomes for young Canberrans and their families,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“We know that working with young people and their families at the earliest possible opportunity can make a significant difference to their overall mental health.”
Mr Rattenbury said children and adolescents were previously seen within the adult mental health service on weekends.
“The service can now provide specialist mental health assessments on weekends to young people aged 5–18 years who are already admitted to the paediatric ward or who present to the emergency department,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“This extension of service hours will ensure assessments are conducted by a CAMHS clinician, are child focused and enable appropriate services and referrals regardless of what day young people are admitted.
“CAMHS clinicians also work closely with families and carers to provide information and advice to help them support young family members and people in their care.”
Do you think more needs to be done to help Canberra’s young people with mental health issues? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.