Implementing an outreach headspace mental health service to increase access for disadvantaged and rural youth in Southern Tasmania
Problem: Barriers, including distance and lack of transport, make it difficult for young people (YP) to access mental health services such as headspace.
Design: A collaborative mental health outreach service initiative, with outcome measures assessed at baseline and after 2 years.
Setting: The service was designed and implemented by headspace Hobart and Pulse Youth Health Service based in Glenorchy, Tasmania, Australia.
Key Measures for Improvement:
• Number of rural and socio-economically disadvantaged YP accessing the outreach service
• Wait time to see a mental health clinician
Strategies for Change: Organisational leadership and adoption of co-design principles. Staff and youth from both services were engaged in planning and implementation. Regular service reviews were undertaken by representatives from both organisations.
Effects of Change: Numbers of YP from rural and socio-economically disadvantaged areas accessing the service increased. Wait times to see a mental health clinician were reduced by a minimum 10 working days.
Lessons Learnt: Staff engagement was vital in supporting and promoting the new outreach service. The risk of diluting the headspace model fidelity was ameliorated by collaborating with an existing, complimentary youth health service. The success of the service has resulted in four more outreach sites. Although administration resources are stretched, the outreach model offers an opportunity to increase access to youth friendly mental health services for YP from disadvantaged and rural areas of Southern Tasmania.
Publication titleAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2019 National Rural Health Alliance Ltd.