Armadale organisations making headway on youth mental health front

Pearl Proud (Headspace Clinical Lead), Dr Lawrence Woo and Annette Chivers (Headspace Manager). Picture: Jon Hewson d482430
Pearl Proud (Headspace Clinical Lead), Dr Lawrence Woo and Annette Chivers (Headspace Manager). Picture: Jon Hewson d482430

AS mental health issues among young people continues to be a concern, a partnership between Armadale Health Service and headspace Armadale offering support and help is proving to be as important as ever.

Statistics show one in five people will experience a mental illness each year but only 50 per cent of those will ask for help, numbers the two organisations have been working to address, especially among Armadale’s 12 to 25 year olds.

As part of the partnership the health service provides a consultant psychiatrist to headspace once a fortnight, a practice Consultant Psychiatrist Lawrence Woo said was all about making the young person as comfortable as possible.

“By providing access to a psychiatrist within a user-friendly, community-based service tailored to their mental health needs, young adults can feel more comfortable to access mental health help,” he said.

“It can help them by reducing the size of the step necessary to see a psychiatrist, as well as providing the support they may need to overcome stigma.”

Headspace Armadale manager Annette Chivers said partnerships such as this were a way both organisations could ensure locals were getting the best care possible.

“It makes the experience of help-seeking behaviour more accessible and seamless for young people trying to get support, especially for young people with mental health issues when they are already feeling vulnerable,” she said.

“Partnerships between services means young people are not going from one service to the other to access the help they need and getting even more stressed in the process.

“This way services get to know what is available through their partnerships and can give more informed advice about the choices that suit the needs of young people.”

Advice for parents/loved ones

When someone in your family has a mental health problem:

. Keep communication open
. Be available without being pushy or intrusive
. Spend time with the person – take an interest in their activities and encourage them to talk about what’s happening in their life
. Take the person’s feelings seriously
. Encourage and support positive friendships
. Encourage activities that encourage mental health – exercise, healthy eating, sleeping
. Give positive feedback
. Let the person know that you love them-they may not admit it, but this may be very important to them.

How to find help:

. Talk openly and honestly with them, and let them know you are concerned
. Reassure them you will be there for them, and ask what they need from you
. Let them know there is lots of help available
. Help find an appropriate service
. Ask direct questions if you are concerned about suicide
. Help them build a support network
. Look after yourself as well. Get some support by talking to someone you trust, and seek professional help for yourself if you need it.

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