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Addressing youth mental health

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Addressing youth mental health

Wishlist’s new youth mental health advisory groups aim to offer youth and their families a voice.

Adolescents on the Sunshine Coast will have the opportunity to access a new era of mental health services as need for support continues to grow.

Around 200 youth present to the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service’s (SCHHS) mental health department each month, a number spurred on by outcomes of the pandemic and not showing sign of slowing anytime soon.

To help better understand the complex mental heath issues youth face and to ensure the correct services are in place to help, local health foundation Wishlist is directing $436,000 towards a Parental Resilience Group and Youth Advisory Group.

The group will be activated in the Australian-first Wishlist Centre opposite Sunshine Coast University Hospital over the next two years.

SCHHS service development and research coordinator Bramwell Morton will work with project support officer Sarah Hickey and a group of adolescents who have experienced child youth and mental health services.

As an experienced clinician and registered nurse, Mr Morton says this will provide a platform for the youth to amplify their voice.

“These groups have the power to change the lives of adolescents and their families like we’ve never seen before in the mental health service environment on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Morton says.

“We really want to put it back on the adolescent group members and say we want to look through your eyes and create a better system for a legacy into the future.”

He says outcomes may take a variety of directions, including access to health services, informing use of digital technology in delivery of mental health, and will be determined in the coming months.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe says the groups will fit in perfectly to the comfortable and supportive environment that Wishlist Centre will be for patients and families when it opens mid-year.

“For every young person who walks through the doors of their local public hospital, there is a family,” she says.

“Each person in that family is impacted by their family member’s health journey in a unique way, and that cannot be underestimated.

“We believe through these emerging groups, families will ideally receive what they believe is missing in their health journey.”

Mr Morton and his team will soon be seeking to recruit six consumer and carer positions who will establish the Youth Advisory Group. The Parental Resilience groups will be available to parents who are seeking support with their own recovery journey while their child is recovering.

“We are just so excited about this opportunity and want to say a huge thank you to Wishlist for making this vision become a reality,” Mr Morton says.

To help local families going through a health crisis, and be part of the Wishlist Centre legacy, you can donate a Virtual Brick at wishlist.org.au.

If you, or someone you know, need help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call 000 immediately.

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