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DHSChild and Youth Mental Health Service Redesign Demonstration Projects

continuity of care within mental health services and between mental health and other services are to be addressed. The projects will draw upon evidence-based responses targeted at the specific and changing needs of children and young people.

The lead mental health service and fund holder designated in each of the two projects specified in this brief will be responsible for the timely delivery of the project outputs, activities and services described herein.  

The projects will be supported by an independent evaluation process to be funded by the Mental Health and Drugs Division that will work closely with the consortia (see p.16). Workforce development initiatives to assist in meeting the needs of staff in pursuing government’s mental health reform directions will also be provided and will be available to both demonstration project staff and mental health services across the state (see p.14).

In addition, in 2008-09 one-off service development grants will be provided for up to six applicant consortia that were not awarded a demonstration project but whose submission constituted a strong case for further planning and developmental work targeted at reform.

Objectives and scope of the demonstration projects

2.1 Purpose of the demonstration projects

The demonstration projects will aim to reduce the prevalence of untreated mental health problems and disorders across the 0-25 age group within a designated geographical area. This will be achieved through earlier recognition and timely responses to a larger number of children and young people with a broader range of mental health problems and disorders.

Achieving this will require substantial reform to the way that services are currently provided. Key parameters to be re-examined include who should receive services and from whom, the timing of service engagement and support, the type of interventions delivered, the way that services are organised and the location of service outlets.

Changing these parameters will require building capacity to respond more systematically to varying levels of mental health need across a range of services over time, beginning within specialist mental health services, drug and alcohol services, primary health services and developing more effective alliances and partnerships with early childhood and youth services, schools, vocational services, housing and social supports. While the focus will be sub-regional, the success of the work being undertaken will be measured through formative and summative evaluation and will inform mental health reform across the State.

Initially the demonstration projects will develop approaches primarily aimed at ‘providing earlier age-appropriate treatment and support to children and young people with emerging or existing mental illness and their families’. This will address ‘Focus Area 2.2’ of the mental health reform consultation paper Because mental health matters. Over time, the consortia will develop broader alliances capable of ‘strengthening capacity for early identification and intervention through universal services, including early childhood services and schools’, thereby addressing ‘Focus Area 2.1’.

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