We are excited to be leading the co-design of a State-first short term residential service for young people experiencing suicidal ideation, in partnership with the State Government, Samaritans WA and Telethon Kids Institute.
This innovative new service will provide early intervention, residential, short-stay support for up to 300 people aged 16 to 24 years old per year.
Shockingly, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people in Western Australia, surpassing even the number of young people who die on our roads. Most young people who die by suicide have never been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or seen a mental health clinician.
Without a mental health diagnosis, families concerned about a young person’s thoughts or feelings of suicide are often left with no option but to attend the emergency department of a hospital. Hospital Emergency Departments can be busy, confronting places, particularly so for someone having suicidal thoughts, and they are not designed to provide the kind of follow up or ongoing support often required.
The critical difference in this new service is that referral will be possible without having to have a medical mental health diagnosis. This means that the young person will be able to receive active, early intervention before reaching crisis point.
The service co-design team will base the new program on the highly successful Maytree model from the UK, and will seek input from young people and their families to ensure it is fit for current needs and purpose. The centre will be staffed by Peer Workers and Volunteer Counsellors trained in trauma-informed, person-centred care. Intervention will be non-clinical and preventative, provided in a safe, nurturing space.
Peer Workers and Volunteer Counsellors walk alongside an individual in a way that empowers them while they retain self-determinism; an agent of hope to support the change in thoughts, feelings and intentions that may lead to suicide.
We’re looking forward to designing this innovative program with our partners, who are each world-leaders in youth suicide support, prevention and research, and all equally dedicated to changing the lives of hundreds of young Western Australians, and reducing the disturbing youth suicide statistics in this State.
The new residential service for young people experiencing suicidal ideation is expected to be operational in 2023.