5 June 2017

More early intervention services for children with depression and body image issues in $3 million Budget initiative

| Glynis Quinlan
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Primary school-aged children showing early signs of common mental health concerns such as depression and body image issues will receive better access to counselling services following a $3 million initiative in tomorrow’s 2017-18 ACT Budget.

The funding for youth-focused mental health initiatives announced today will include $1.17 million specifically aimed at providing better support services and case management for children aged between 5 and 12.

It will fund assessments of around 150 primary school children who could benefit from early intervention counselling, as well as enabling up to 90 children to participate in a social emotional program. It also provides for single session intervention counselling for 60 parents whose children are receiving these services.

ACT Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury today announced that funding would be provided in tomorrow’s budget to expand counselling services for children, improve hospital-based services for young people, and provide more support to community providers to deliver early intervention programs.

“I’m pleased to announce the 2017-18 Budget is delivering over $3 million in youth-focused mental health initiatives to better support those in need,” Mr Rattenbury said during a visit to the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in Garran this morning.

“This funding will expand the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Consultation Liaison Service within the Canberra Hospital to now operate seven days per week.”

Mr Rattenbury said that the CAMHS Consultation Liaison Service provides assessment and referrals to appropriate mental health services. Clinicians from the service also work closely with families to provide information and advice to support admitted adolescents.

“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. This will ensure that young people and clinicians will have access to specialist services, when and where they are needed,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The $1.17 million in funding for primary school-aged initiatives will be used to expand the CAMHS Primary School Intervention Program.

“This expansion will provide more counselling services to primary school aged children who are showing early signs of common mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety and body image issues,” Mr Rattenbury said.

He said that the $3 million also includes a $400,000 allocation to the headspace program to provide mental health services to young people aged between 18 and 25 years who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health conditions.

Photo: ACT Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury talks with CAMHS clinician Anne-Marie Ramsay at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children this morning.

Do you think more needs to be done while children are young to intervene if they are showing signs of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and body image problems? Is this a growing problem for our society? (photo supplied).

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