Showcasing: ReFrame Youth Mental Health Service

Region
South Western Sydney

Lead agency
Community Links Wellbeing Wollondilly Inc. 

Living Well domain

  • Making it local 
Bowral

Program Overview

The ReFrame Youth Mental Health Service is funded by South Western Sydney Primary Health Network to provide mental health interventions for young people aged 12-25 who experience mild to moderate mental health concerns. Community Links Wellbeing Inc. is the local community managed organisation commissioned to run this service. Support is provided at walk-in sites in Bowral and Tahmoor and through community outreach by multi-disciplinary mental health professionals and youth engagement workers.

Young people are identified in Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 as a highly vulnerable cohort in rural areas. This program targets particularly young people in the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly local government areas. The area has experienced a rise in male suicide rates and high numbers of hospital emergency presentations for young people with self-harm.  

Challenge

Young people are identified in Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 as a highly vulnerable cohort in rural areas. This program targets particularly young people in the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly local government areas. The area has experienced a rise in male suicide rates and high numbers of hospital emergency presentations for young people with self-harm.

West Syd

Solution

The initial budget 2018-19 was approximately $900,000, including establishment costs. ReFrame currently employs two full time clinicians and two full time youth engagement workers. The multi-disciplinary team is managed and supervised by the senior clinician and clinical program director. Social work masters’ degree students add depth to the staff team.

Key partnerships include most local GPs. One practice provides doctors who bulk bill for services one day per week at the Bowral walk-in for any young person. In Wollondilly a different practice co locates the ReFrame clinical team by providing a room for service delivery. 

 

Community mental health teams in Wingecarribee host a ReFrame staff member in their case reviews and allocations team meetings. 

Clinicians and youth workers also visit local schools to provide therapy to students and liaise with staff around potential referrals to ReFrame and elsewhere as necessary. 

A young peoples’ reference committee meets monthly to provide views on what ReFrame should offer and how it works. The program delivery is also co-designed with input from community members of all ages, local health district staff and managers, GPs and other community managed organisations. The youth reference committee continues to make recommendations and implement changes while also setting agendas within a long-term vision. 

Outcomes

As the program is only recently established it is difficult to provide outcome evidence at this stage, however anecdotal feedback has been largely positive. This includes feedback on accessibility factors and comments that the clinician’s skills reduce the stress of therapy for young people. 

Demand for the service is high and weekly referrals have exceeded expectations. 
 

Next Steps

The program is funded on an annual basis up to June 2020.

The program will continue to support young people and their families accessing support through development of new key community partnerships, including Lifeline and the NSW Police. 

The future goal is that staff can be employed in partnership across GPs and mental health units in these regions with an expansion to Campbelltown to enhance the reach.