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Psychiatr Serv ; : appips20220345, 2022 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2138394


OBJECTIVE: The authors aimed to evaluate changes in use of government-subsidized primary mental health services, through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), by young people during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and whether changes were associated with age, sex, socioeconomic status, and residence in particular geographical areas. METHODS: Interrupted time-series analyses were conducted by using quarterly mental health MBS service data (all young people ages 12-25 years, 2015-2020) for individual Statistical Area Level 3 areas across Australia. The data captured >22.4 million service records. Meta-analysis and meta-regression models estimated the pandemic interruption effect at the national level and delineated factors influencing these estimates. RESULTS: Compared with expected prepandemic trends, a 6.2% (95% CI=5.3%-7.2%) increase was noted for all young people in use of MBS mental health services in 2020. Substantial differences were found between age and sex subgroups, with a higher increase among females and young people ages 18-25. A decreasing trend was observed for males ages 18-25 (3.5% reduction, 95% CI=2.5%-4.5%). The interruption effect was strongly associated with socioeconomic status. Service uptake increased in areas of high socioeconomic status, with smaller or limited uptake in areas of low socioeconomic status. CONCLUSIONS: During 2020, young people's use of primary mental health services increased overall. However, increases were inequitably distributed and relatively low, compared with increases in population-level mental health burden. Policy makers should address barriers to primary care access for young people, particularly for young males and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

BMJ Open ; 12(9): e063154, 2022 Sep 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2020062


INTRODUCTION: Opportunities for improved mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people lie in improving the capability of primary healthcare services to identify mental healthcare needs and respond in timely and appropriate ways. The development of culturally appropriate mental health assessment tools and clinical pathways have been identified as opportunities for strengthening workforce capacity in this area. The Ngalaiya Boorai Gabara Budbut implementation project seeks to pursue these opportunities by developing and validating a psychosocial assessment tool, understanding what services need to better care for your people and developing resources that address those needs. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The project will be governed by a research governance group comprising Aboriginal service providers, young people, and researchers. It will be implemented in an urban health service in Canberra, and regional services in Moree, Wollongong, and the Illawarra regions of New South Wales Australia. The validation study will follow an argument-based approach, assessing cultural appropriateness and ease of use; test-retest validity; internal consistency, construct validity and the quality of decisions made based on the assessment. Following piloting with a small group of young people and their caregivers (n=10), participants (n=200) will be young people and/or their caregivers, attending one of the partner services. The needs assessment will involve an in-depth exploration of service via an online survey (n=60) and in-depth interviews with service providers (n=16) and young people (n=16). These activities will run concurrently. Service providers, researchers and the governance group will codesign resources that respond to the needs identified and pilot them through the participating services. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW Human Research Ethics committee (#1769/21) has approved this project. Informed consent will be obtained from all participants and/or their caregivers (with assent from those aged <16 years) prior to participating in all aspects of the study. Research dissemination will occur through participating health services, academic journal articles and conference presentations.

Health Services, Indigenous , Mental Health , Adolescent , Child , Humans , Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples , Primary Health Care
JMIR Ment Health ; 8(2): e21872, 2021 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1181272


BACKGROUND: Young people, aged 15-25 years, are at a critical stage of life when they need to navigate vocational pathways and achieve work and study outcomes. Those with mental health problems are particularly at risk of disengagement with work and study and need effective support. The headspace Work and Study (hWS) service is an innovative online platform implemented in Australia to support young people aged 15-25 years with mental health problems to achieve work and study goals. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to determine whether the hWS service has been implemented as planned, provides appropriate support for young people, and achieves its main goals. METHODS: Data were collected via 2 methodologies: (1) the hWS Minimum Data Set, which includes data on all clients in the service (n=1139), services delivered, and service impact; and (2) a survey of hWS clients who volunteered to participate in an evaluation of the hWS service (n=137). RESULTS: The service was accessed by its defined target group, young people aged 15-25 years with mental health and work and study difficulties. Young people found the online platform to be acceptable, and the assistance provided and clinical integration useful; many young people achieved positive work and study outcomes, particularly those who engaged more times with the service. More assistance was sought for work than study goals, suggesting that the transition to work may be particularly challenging for young people. One-third (298/881, 33.8%) of the sample for the service impact analyses achieved at least 1 primary work or study outcome, and this increased to 44.5% (225/506) for those who engaged with 5 or more sessions, demonstrating that greater engagement with the service produced better outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Critical work and study support can be effectively delivered via an online modality to young people with common mental health problems. Digital services are scaleable to reach many young people and are of particular value for those with difficulty accessing in-person services.