The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the profound impact major events can have on mental health, even when the immediate threat may resolve.
While mental illness can develop at any point in a person’s life, about 75% of people will first experience problems in late adolescence and early adulthood. When this occurs prompt access to appropriate health professionals is critical; so young people can receive the help and care they need to ensure best quality of life.
We know that prompt access to treatment is very effective and improves people’s lives. However, we hear all-too-often that the system of care provision is fragmented and difficult to navigate. Services are often designed in response to the way they are funded, rather than being structured in a way that benefits the people who access them.
At present, there are very few private resources available for youth and adolescents in Perth and indeed across all of Western Australia. There is not a dedicated, specialist private service for young people and there are no private inpatient services in the southern Perth metropolitan area. There is a clear unmet need in our community to help our young people and adults.
That’s why we are delighted that St John of God Murdoch Hospital is developing a new facility that will have a dedicated youth and adolescent service within it. It will also cater for adults and include community care, structured day programs and specialist inpatient services for both age groups.
As a non-profit provider of mental health services across the country, St John of God Health Care is in a unique position to change the way care is provided. We are laser focused on putting the patient first. This means providing cohesive, integrated care across the continuum; ensuring that people have access to the care at the right time and in the right environment.
The new Murdoch service will be built upon a truly person-centred philosophy; which helps people to live their best lives, in their communities. Compassion will also be at the heart of our model. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that, we could all use a little bit of it right now.