Ground-breaking child and adolescent mental health investment by NSW Government

21 June 2021
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has congratulated Minister Taylor, Premier Berejiklian and Treasurer Perottet on this critical investment in MH services for children and adolescents in NSW.

The $109.5 million announced, represents the most significant investment in child and adolescent mental health services in New South Wales' history.

Dr Angelo Virgona, Chair of the NSW RANZCP, said the historic announcement is the result of a successful collaboration between the RANZCP and the New South Wales Government.

‘The RANZCP brought the increasing frequency and severity of mental health presentations of young people in our hospitals and community services to the attention of Minister Taylor, who challenged us to come up with a plan of action’, said Dr Virgona.

‘A model of care was then developed in close collaboration with the Minister’s office and the Department of Health, with critical inputs from the Mental Health Commission and Australia College of Mental Health Nurses.

‘This model, Safeguards: Child and Adolescent MH Response, will see the deployment 25 State-wide acute mental health teams; a dramatic rise in the capacity of community mental health services to deal with acutely and severely distressed young people.

Chair of the RANZCP Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and leader of the development team, Professor Valsa Eapen, explained the purpose of the multidisciplinary teams.

‘The 25 teams, to be rolled out over the next 3-4 years, will comprise psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses and allied health professionals, providing comprehensive assessments to acutely distressed young people, short-term intensive care and then handover to the most appropriate services’, said Professor Eapen.

‘There will be close partnerships with schools, headspace, youth mental health services, NGOs, GPs, and private sector psychological and psychiatric services, to ensure no one falls through the cracks.

‘The teams will operate 7 days a week, with extended hours, and assessments will take place where needed; in the community centres, hospitals and homes.

‘The capacity of existing community mental health teams for longer-term care will be enhanced and the model will vary depending on the specific needs of the region.

‘This will result in a major boost to the mental health workforce, across the disciplines, with major flow on effects over decades.

‘It will ensure that we are ensuring the earliest possible treatment of young people when they first present with mental health issues, a critical brick in the wall of prevention.

The RANZCP is proud to be part of this historic development and will work closely and collaboratively with our partners to ensure its success.

For more information and for all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.