New program to help region’s youth

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Bridgetown Doctor Sarah Youngson is excited about Blackwood Youth Action's new program.
Camera IconBridgetown Doctor Sarah Youngson is excited about Blackwood Youth Action's new program. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Blackwood Youth Action’s new mental health program aims to consolidate the links between mental health services and youth programs in the South West.

The program provides free emotional support services for 12 to 25-year-olds in the Warren-Blackwood Region.

Group chairwoman Bridgetown GP Dr Sarah Youngson said the program would streamline the delivery of mental health services for young people.

“We wanted to help young people and their families have a single point of entry if they have any social, emotional or mental health needs and Blackwood Youth Action will walk them through the process of finding the appropriate help that they need,” Dr Youngson said.

“For someone who is in a crisis or really struggling, they don’t really know where to go ... often they are making a million phone calls and trying to find support for this particular issue.

“What we want to do is say contact Blackwood Youth Action, you will have an assessment by an adolescent psychologist and then Rebecca will allocate you to the best possible care for your needs.”

The program is not limited to strictly medical support and plans to offer alternative solutions tailored to the needs of the individual involving other community groups.

“Some people don’t necessarily need a psychologist or they may need a psychologist that specialises in drug or alcohol counselling or they may just be lonely and need to know that these are the great groups you can join,” Dr Youngson said.

Another considerations for the program was maximising the potential of the existing services located in the region, given the limited funding and resources available for mental health.

“That was the other goal, to really build on the linkages that we all have within our community and get the most bang for our buck out of the limited services that we have,” Dr Youngson said.

“There are some services doing fantastic things, but they are all under-resourced and overstretched, we see this as a way of really directing the need to where it’s going to get the best results and helping to support the limited resources that we have.

“We’re certainly not wanting to provide a new service and we’re not wanting to replicate or do anything that is already being done.”

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