27 September 2023

Health to trial aid for youth mental issues

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Queensland Health is trialling a service aimed at improving young people’s access to mental health support.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Yvette D’Ath said the trial involved a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to engage Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, to deliver a digital on-demand mental health service.

Ms D’Ath said the two-year pilot was leveraging Orygen’s existing and highly successful Queensland Moderated Online Social Therapy (Q-MOST) platform to enhance mental health support services available to young people.

“The Q-MOST program is offering an alternative for young people to gain access to on-demand mental health support whenever and wherever it is needed,” she said.

“It will provide access to 24/7 mental health support in multiple ways to ensure young people can receive the help they need when they need it.”

Ms D’Ath said the Q-MOST program would be piloted progressively across seven Hospital and Health Services (HHS) and was also being offered to select local stakeholder partners, such as headspace centres.

“Advancements in technology have the potential to open up new ways of delivering healthcare and, by extension, improve health outcomes for Queenslanders,” she said.

Executive Director of the Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch at Queensland Health, John Allan said the pilot program came at a critical time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant disruption to social connections, community activities and everyday life,” Associate Professor Allan said.

“As a consequence, we have seen a significant increase in mental health presentations and increased use of alcohol and other drugs, particularly for the adolescent cohort,” he said.

Associate Professor Allan said by focussing on young people, the program would hopefully address these issues and reduce the number of mental health presentations in this cohort.

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