Mental health services for young people
An ACT Health initiative delivered by Marymead is providing crucial and timely interventions for young people in the Canberra region.
When Emily, 11, started experiencing severe anxiety, her mother found it difficult to access mental health support services.
“It was impacting every aspect of our family’s lives,” Melissa said.
“We struggled to get her to school. If anything was out of our normal routine, she would struggle to adapt and she would have panic attacks. She was so worried about making other people happy that she wouldn’t make a decision.”
With many psychologists closed to new clients, or out of the family’s financial reach, Emily’s mum started searching online.
“I found MindMap and it was easy to navigate – it was a one-stop-shop for all things mental health,” she said.
“My daughter and I have been attending weekly appointments where she is able to talk and get strategies to help her manage her anxiety.”
Mental Health and Wellbeing Team Leader Youth Portal Amy Kelley said MindMap was an online navigational portal formulated for young people aged 0-25 years, parents and carers in the ACT seeking mental health-related support, services and information.
“MindMap will link up with existing services within the ACT,” she explained.
“We offer phone, email and Live Chat support where young people and their carers can engage to find services and supports for improving mental health, while making informed decisions about how that support is accessed.”
When accessing the Live Chat, young people can speak about what they are experiencing, and Youth Navigators will offer support by linking to an ACT-based service or to provide information.
Melissa said MindMap had been a tremendous support while Emily was on the waiting list for a mental health service.
“It has helped my daughter realise what she is experiencing is very normal and it has helped her confidence,” she said.
“It has given me tools as a parent to help her when she is feeling overwhelmed and anxious.”
Unit Manager Mental Health and Wellbeing Carley Thomas said the demand for mental health support within ACT exceeds supply.
“When children and young people, in particular, try to access mental health information or support there is not a single source that provides access to all services available and evidence-based information,” she said.
“Thereby the responsibility lies with the client to search multiple places and source appropriate support. Often what we see is disengagement and helplessness from young people, when as a sector we should be empowering them.”
Through Mindmap, users can access 115 services and 321 resources. However, after finding the appropriate service, young people will be put on a waitlist.
“After building the courage to ask for help, then sitting on a waitlist – this is very disempowering,” Ms Thomas said.
“MindMap aims to close the gap between help-seeking and clinical allocation through Active Holding, which is a holding space designed to maintain the support of the young person while they are on a waiting list for service.”
- Mindmap.act.gov.au is accessible 24/7 and is supported by a team of Youth Navigators 11 am – 10 pm each day (with some variation around public holidays).