What the Royal Commission said
The Royal Commission recommended that the Victorian Government:
- ensure young people aged 12 to 25 years can access the treatment, care and support that they need
- create mental health services specifically for young people
- develop partnerships between youth services so young people can access the type and level of care they need
- ensure young people can access step-down and step-up care options when needed
- support the young person's family, carers or supporters to be involved in their treatment and care.
Over time, no young person should be treated in an adult mental health inpatient unit. Young people aged 18-25 should be able to access facilities that meet their needs and preferences.
What are the opportunities?
The Royal Commission heard that young people often feel uncomfortable asking for help. And when they do ask for help, they are often turned away or ‘referred out' to other services. This means that young people are left struggling for too long.
Getting help early is important so that these challenges do not worsen. This way the young person can get on with their life and do the things they like doing.
Young people told the Royal Commission that they want a system that supports them to feel confident to ask for help. To be able to access treatment, care and support they want and need so that they can live a life that they value. They asked for a new system that will have “no wrong door”.
What are we doing?
We have started creating a dedicated youth mental health and wellbeing system for the first time in Victoria. The new system will offer support specifically for young people aged 12 to 25.
Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services
This will include setting up the 13 Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. Through these service, young people can access a range of community mental health and wellbeing services such as:
- treatments and therapies
- wellbeing supports focused building life skills and on study and employment
- education, peer support and self-help
- care planning and coordination.
Young people will be able to access these supports through referrals from a medical practitioner. They can also be referred through one of the Local Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, or through headspace. In times of crisis, they will also be able to access these services without needing a referral.
Headspace will continue to be a main place for young people to access treatment, care and support. The Victorian Government is continuing work with the Commonwealth Government to keep strong partnerships between headspace and the Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services.
We are also in the stage of setting up five new Youth Prevention and Recovery Care Units (YPARCs). The YPARCs will provide 50 beds specifically for young people aged 16 to 25 years. Young people will be able to access care in the community 24 hours a day, with support in a home-like setting. The YPARCs have a shared kitchen, dining, lounge room and activity spaces. The Parkville YPARC is nearly completed and is scheduled to open early 2022.
Four new Child and Youth HOPE (Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement) services will soon be established. These will be located at Alfred Health, Monash Children's Hospital, Royal Children's Hospital and Orygen. The new Child and Youth HOPE services will provide support to children and young people who have attempted suicide, have suicidal ideation or have self-harmed. The services will be designed with children and young people as well as their families and carers.
Further funding has been allocated to expand the Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach teams. These teams provide specialised outreach support to young people who have complex needs. Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach teams mean young people can be seen in places where they are most comfortable. This may include in their home, or in the local park. The mobile teams support young people who find it challenging to attend clinical appointments. They ensure that those young people are still able to access important treatment, care and support.
A new School Mental Health Fund is also being set up for schools to deliver mental health and wellbeing support to their students. Funded initiatives could range from therapy dogs to mental health first aid training for staff.