Doctors team up with Headspace to help stressed out teens
HEADSPACE Warwick and the Darling Downs PHN are calling on local GPs to join forces in addressing the growing number of local youth in need of mental support.
The new pilot program is seeking expressions of interest from local doctors to work part time in the centre to strengthen skills in recognising mental health issues in youth.
Headspace Warwick manager Travis Maguire said it’s the perfect time to roll out the program given the expected strain on services.
“I think GPs have to be across so many different areas of our health that people assume they’re going to be well versed and well trained in something like mental health, but that’s not always the case,” he said.
“We were just getting ready to see (a busy period) with the bushfires when we got hit with COVID so I would anticipate that in the next few months services are certainly going to be overwhelmed.”
The program would see a registered GP with youth mental health experience or interest oversee a GP registrar.
The GP registrar will then get experience and stay on and offer a service within the centre, one day a week.
“Generally when we get a young person in we like them to go back and see their GP again and get a physical check-up to make sure there’s nothing organically happening in the body that’s contributing toward how they’re feeling,” he said.
”It’s that overall holistic care package that’s important in having a GP on board.”
In May, the Australian Medical Association revealed young people living in regional and rural Australia will be hit the hardest by the pandemic.
The report shows that there may be a 25 per cent increase in suicides, and it is likely that about 30 per cent of those will be among young people.
If the Australian economy deteriorates further, this number may increase.
The integration of GPs training at the Headspace facility may lead to earlier diagnosis of mental illnesses.
But Mr Maguire said it’s early days with no local expressions of interest as of yet.
“Traditionally, it’s a bit harder to get GPs in rural areas anyway,” he said.