Delivering a Healthy WA
North Metropolitan Health Service, Mental Health

Youth Mental Health Program

The Youth Mental Health Program is managed through the North Metropolitan Health Service Mental Health.

Youth Mental Health community services consist of Youth Axis, Youth Hospital in the Home, YouthLink and YouthReach South who work collaboratively to provide a range of specialist youth mental health services to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Perth, Western Australia.

The new Youth Hospital in the Home (YHITH) service commenced in March 2017, joining the Youth Mental Health Program, providing a contemporary alternative to mental health hospital admission and treatment for young people.

The goal of the Youth Mental Health program relates to the broad aim of reducing the incidence, prevalence and impact of mental health and psychosocial problems on young people within the specific target population of each service, in consultation and collaboration with other service providers and the broader communities in which young people reside and find themselves connected.

Youth Mental Health is not a comprehensive program able to provide mental health services to all young people with serious mental health disorders within the youth age cohort. As a consequence, Youth Mental Health is reliant on working closely with Adult Mental Health Services and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Improving young people's mental health is a priority of the WA Department of Health. The WA Mental Health Commission (WA MHC) defines youth as aged 16 to 24.

In Australia, young people aged 16-24 years have the highest prevalence of mental disorders of any population group, with more than a quarter (26%) experiencing a mental health problem and/or mental illness each year.  In WA, mental disorders affect almost a third of young people (31%) (WA MHC, 2011).

Of those young people who experience a mental health problem nationally each year, only 23% will have accessed a mental health service (WA MHC 2011). The peak onset of mental illness occurs between the ages of 12 to 25 (McGorry, 2007). The effect of mental illness on a young person's life is significant, often affecting the individual's capacity to mature and accomplish normal developmental tasks. It is now recognised that intervening early for young people with mental health problems can dramatically improve outcomes.

For developmental as well as epidemiological reasons, young people need youth-friendly models of care (Tylee, Haller, Graham, Churchill & Sanci; 2007) to assist with access.

Youth Mental Health is framed by the five key reform principles of the WA Mental Health Commission's 2020 Strategic Plan.

  • Respect and participation
  • Engagement
  • Diversity
  • Quality of life
  • Quality and best practice

An outline of the four Youth Mental Health programs currently operating is below.

YouthLink

YouthLink is a specialist mental health service providing counselling, therapy and case management to young people aged 13-24 years with serious mental health problems and barriers to accessing mainstream services. Barriers typically include homelessness and transience, limited support networks, cultural barriers including Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) identity and marginalisation due to diverse sexuality and gender.

YouthLink provides a welcoming, trauma-informed, flexible approach with assertive outreach to support engagement. Services are provided by clinical psychologists, social workers, clinical nurses and ATSI mental health practitioners, with limited psychiatry services also available.

Services offered

  • Assessment
  • Intensive case management and psychosocial support
  • Assertive outreach
  • Evidence based counselling, psychotherapy and psycho-education
  • Transitional support
  • Consultative advice and support to other agencies including collaborative interventions and projects.
  • YouthLink also provides training (via a calendar of regular training events) and consultation for other services who work with at-risk youth.

YouthReach South

YouthReach South is a specialised mental health service for marginalised young people aged 13-24 years in the south metropolitan area who are homeless or experiencing other significant barriers in accessing mainstream services. The service has a focus on engagement, early intervention, consumer participation, inclusion of diversity and trauma informed service delivery.

Services offered

  • Assessment
  • Intensive case management and psychosocial support
  • Assertive outreach
  • Evidence based counselling, psychotherapy and psycho-education.
  • Transitional support
  • Consultative advice and support to other agencies including collaborative clinical interventions and projects.
  • In-reach to the state-wide homeless youth facility – Ngatti (includes: comprehensive psychiatric care, medication prescribing, metabolic screening and depot administration).

Youth Axis

Youth Axis provides specialist mental health assessment, treatment, consultation and community capacity building. The focus is on enhancing the mental health and well-being of young people who have emerging mental health issues, primarily associated with ultra-high risk (UHR) of developing psychosis and/or emerging borderline personality disorder.

Services offered

  • Assessment
  • Evidence based counselling, psychotherapy and psycho-education.
  • Assertive case management and psychosocial support
  • Outreach
  • Transitional support
  • Consultative advice and support to other agencies including collaborative clinical interventions and projects.

Target group

  • 16 – 24 years
  • Living in stable accommodation in the Perth Metropolitan area
  • Decline in function in the last 12 months
  • Help accepting

And one or both of the following:

  • Unusual and out of character thoughts and/or behaviour with suspected UHR criteria.
  • Significant personality difficulties in the following area:
    • Problems with regulating emotions and thoughts
    • Suicidal ideation and/or self-harming
    • Impulsive and reckless behaviour
    • Unstable relationships with other people
    • Substance abuse.

Youth Hospital in the Home (YHITH)

The Youth Hospital in the Home (YHITH) provides care in the patient’s home or usual place of residence that would otherwise be delivered within a hospital as an admitted patient.

YHITH provides clinical services equal to the standard provided in hospital and actively facilitates access to additional community services, if required. These extra supports can help the individual with their day to day activities thus minimising the impact on carers and families.

YHITH clinicians work in partnership with the individual and their families or carers for around 14 days to provide intensive support, education and guidance to all parties. Where possible, clinicians work with the patient’s general practitioner (GP) to enable maximum communication and continuity of care.

How the service operates

Clinicians will conduct the initial assessment interview in the most appropriate environment in collaboration with the consumer and their family or carer, an agreed treatment plan including a crisis plan is developed.

Clinicians visit the home every day to review and monitor treatment and progress. Counselling and information is typically provided to the consumer or carer on a daily basis to help develop a better understanding of the illness experience and to improve existing coping skills. YHITH doctor appointments generally occur in the home, on a weekly basis.

Who is eligible?

YHITH is for individuals aged 16-24 years residing in the North Metropolitan catchment areas who are mentally unwell and are willing to be treated at home rather than in hospital. Individuals should have stable accommodation with supportive friends, family, carer who are willing be actively involved during the treatment period.

Who can refer?

Young people can be referred to YHITH by a community mental health clinic, emergency department or inpatient unit.

Referral information for Youth Axis, YouthLink and YouthReach South:

  • An integrated triage and entry process exists between YouthLink, YouthReach South and Youth Axis.
  • Referrals/Triage phone: 1300 362 569
  • Email referral form to: youthmhtriage@health.wa.gov.au
  • Fax referral form to: 9287 5762

Referral information for Youth Hospital in the Home:

  YouthLink YouthReach South Youth Axis Youth Hospital in the Home
Address: 223 James Street
Northbridge WA 6003
http://youthlink.perthwa.net/
Level 2/25 Wentworth Parade
Success WA 6164
http://youthlink.perthwa.net/
32-34 Salvado Road
Wembley WA 6014
Gascoyne House, Mt Claremont  WA  6010
Contact Details:
(admin only)
Phone: 9227 4300
Fax: 9328 5911
Phone: 9499 4274
Fax: 9499 4270
Phone: 9287 5700
Fax: 9287 5760
Phone: 9347 6436
Fax: 9347 6388
Office Hours: Monday to Friday
8.30am – 4.30pm
Monday to Friday
8.30am – 4.30pm
Monday to Friday
8.30am – 4.30pm
Monday to Friday
8.00am to 8.30pm
Region: Perth North Metropolitan Perth South Metropolitan Perth Metropolitan Perth North Metropolitan