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Youth Mental Health
Tasmanian Youth Peer Work Program
Mental Health Council of Tasmania’s Youth Mental Health work is focused on developing a peer support program specifically tailored for young people. It is about young people with lived experience of mental illness helping other young people going through something similar. Youth Peer Workers will receive training and ongoing supervision to provide, encouragement, information, and non-clinical mental health support to a young person to compliment the clinical services a young person currently receives or wishes to receive . A Youth Peer Worker is someone that ‘gets it‘, who demonstrates the ability to recover/improve and can walk alongside the young person through their journey of mental illness, treatment and recovery, overcoming obstacles and helping to clear the path ahead. The Mental Health Council of Tasmania has developed an Implementation Plan for the delivery of this program over the next two years and is currently undertaking the first priorities identified in that plan.
The Youth Peer Work project to date has centred around the development of the Implementation Plan that brings together the research and consultations undertaken over the last 9 months with young people from across the state. This plan has been developed with a co-design group, comprised of representatives from headspace Youth Reference Group and the Mental Health Families and Friends representative scheme. The plan will undergo final approvals before phase 2 commences in June.
We have also established working groups in each major region of Tasmania comprised of youth-focused clinical and non-clinical services and funding bodies. The purpose of the working groups is to explore grassroots changes that can be made to improve young people’s experiences with the Tasmanian mental health system. The key themes that came out across the regions were seamless service delivery, collaboration and sharing of information. The first actions in these groups are underway and we look forward to seeing each group take the first steps to achieving their goals. These groups have also informed the development of the Youth Peer Work Implementation Plan and will work collaboratively with the co-design team to ensure that the program is suitable and effective for young Tasmanians in every corner of the state.
Tasmanian Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy
In March 2020 the Tasmanian Premier committed to develop Tasmania’s first comprehensive, long-term, whole-of-government, Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy for children aged 0-25 years. Wellbeing is about a child or young person’s quality of life. When they have a strong sense of wellbeing they feel happy, healthy, capable and engaged and able to have a good life. The Tasmanian Child and Youth Wellbeing Framework provides a common understanding of wellbeing through the use of six wellbeing domains.
Consultations for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy took place between November 2020 and February 2021. Based on these sessions, MHCT produced a report detailing some of issues impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of young Tasmanians. The report is available here.
The MHCT report helped to inform the development of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy which was released in August of 2021.
Tasmanian Youth Mental Health Forum (2019)
The Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT) partnered with Primary Health Tasmania (PHT) and the Tasmanian Department of Health to deliver the Tasmanian Youth Mental Health Forum: Exploring Integration and Innovation on 6-7 November 2019. In a complex policy context including current work by the State Government’s Southern Mental Health Integration Taskforce and the development of a joint State and Federal Government Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, this Forum was arranged for the Tasmanian mental health sector to facilitate meaningful engagement in, and consideration of, recent trends identified in youth mental health including:
• Lack of awareness of appropriate services and support available;
• Increased demand for and on youth mental health services;
• Young people presenting more acutely unwell; and
• Increased funding and services for young people