A new service for 12-to-25 year olds in the Wollondilly and Wingecarribee shires is giving young people the tools they need to make important and practical decisions about their mental health.
ReFrame has been commissioned by South Western Sydney Primary Health Network and is being delivered by Community Links Wellbeing. It addresses a significant service gap for young people who previously needed to travel to Campbelltown to access free youth focused primary mental health care.
Services under ReFrame are delivered by youth engagement workers and youth mental health professionals who provide information and support to young people who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns due to common issues including physical health, family and relationships, and study or work.
Larry Whipper, manager of Youth and Family and Adolescent Support Worker at Community Links Wellbeing, said ReFrame was specifically designed for young people in the Wollondilly and Wingecarribee shires.
“We have walk-in centres in both Tahmoor and Bowral to encourage young people to come into the centres and engage with youth workers – to get to know the staff, find a level of comfort and build relationships,” he said.
“If it’s identified that they need more clinical support, the centres are a process to link young people in need to more psychological opportunities.”
Chris Jones, manager of Mental Health at South Western Sydney Primary Health Network, said one quarter of young people were affected by mental health issues, and in the Wollondilly and Wingecarribee shires there were higher rates of self-harm and medication being prescribed.
“Clearly we need a service that matches the needs of this region,” he said.
“We’ve had over 70 referrals to date so we’re already tapping into a huge need.
“With early intervention, the chance of developing more significant or longer term mental health issues is greatly diminished.”
SWSPHN chief executive officer Keith McDonald said the ReFrame service will ensure young people in the Wollondilly and Wingecarribee LGAs have local access to high quality, youth friendly mental health services.
At the launch of the service, ReFrame patron, high profile artist and humanitarian Ben Quilty, said only someone who had suffered from the catastrophic loneliness of mental illness could really understand the importance of ReFrame in bringing people together and healing loneliness.
“I’m honoured to be the patron.”
Young people can walk-in to a ReFrame location without a referral or can be referred by their GP, school or community organisations.
The ReFrame team is working closely with schools, GPs and local services to provide information and support to young people, including South Western Sydney Local Health District youth and mental health teams and other community managed organisations.
The walk-in centres are at 5 Wingecarribee Street, Bowral and 6 Harper Close, Tahmoor. To find out more, call 0455 104 104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about SWSPHN-commissioned mental health services by visiting http://www.swsphn.com.au/mentalhealthcommunity