George Hatzimanolis and Lucy Demant


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George Hatzimanolis and Lucy Demant

  1. 1. Breaking down the barriers: innovative collaborations between the education, AOD and mental health sectors
  2. 2. Who are we? • long and short term residential rehabilitation • youth and family services • Kids in Focus, specialist child, parent and family support service • adult counselling and support • supported accommodation • dual diagnosis • employment counselling • financial counselling • drink driver education • parent support program • education and training (RTO) Victorian holistic alcohol and other drug treatment service: Why are we here?
  3. 3. Today • The problem: at-risk young people • The research: best practice approaches • The model: Building Resilience in Community Schools, BRICS • The learnings: the relevance of BRICS to other educational settings
  4. 4. Our aim By communicating the learnings from the BRICS model we aim to demonstrate that, if we are inclusive in approach, we can develop new, exciting and effective ways of engaging at-risk young people across multiple education sectors, while building the welfare capacity of those already working with these young people.
  5. 5. The problem Young people (16 – 24) at risk of or experiencing substance use and/or mental health problems: • can be difficult to engage • are daunted by and unsure of treatment options • have competing priorities. Consequently, highly vulnerable young people fall through the gaps.
  6. 6. Our challenge as a drug treatment service How can we: • Better identify and engage highly vulnerable young people before the point of crisis? • Become an ongoing, trusting and available presence in these young people’s lives? • Provide treatment to these young people on their terms and in safe, familiar environments? • Effectively support the people and organisations already working with at-risk youth?
  7. 7. Why is this important to you? • Mental health problems are the number one issue facing young Australians. • Just under ¼ of young sufferers seek help. • Young people with mental health disorders are 5 x more likely to use substances. • Nearly 13% of young Australians aged 16 – 24 have a substance use disorder. • Young people with substance use disorders are the least likely to access services. (VCOSS & YACVic, 2013; ABS, 2011; headspace position paper, 2011).
  8. 8. Best practice response To best respond to the needs of vulnerable young people we need to strengthen: • Positive and protective factors (Silburn, 2003). • Early intervention and easy service accessibility (VCOSS & YACVic, 2013; McGorry, 2007; headspace position paper, 2011). • Relationships with young people (YACVic 2013) • Educational engagement (the Gatehouse project, 2001; Youthlaw, 2008). • Service collaboration (YACVic, 2013).
  9. 9. Our small scale solution: Building Resilience in Community Schools, BRICS BRICS is an early intervention, treatment and education program for young people attending community schools; alternative education settings. BRICS has been funded for 5 years by the William Buckland Foundation (to end in Dec 2014).
  10. 10. BRICS stage 1, 2010 – 2012: • 2 community schools and 1 alternative education setting. BRICS stage 2, 2013 – 2014: • 6 community school sites, and 1 alternative education setting. • Government advocacy campaign. The project also includes: • A 5 year evaluation overseen by Prof. John Toumbourou, School of Psychology, Deakin University.
  11. 11. The BRICS breakdown Experienced drug and alcohol clinicians are embedded into the education setting to provide: • Counselling, assertive outreach, support and referral for young people and their families/carers. • Secondary consultation, training and professional development for teaching and welfare staff. • A 10 week drug and mental health education program. • A peer leadership program.
  12. 12. Additional wrap-around services Camps Recreational activities Brokerage fund
  13. 13. The embedding approach The clinician is embedded into the school community through: • being based at the school • classroom involvement • taking part in excursions, camps, whole school meetings, extra curricula activities • attending staff and welfare meetings.
  14. 14. Community schools ‘I have no future at the moment. I am always scared. I hate the person I’ve become.’ A text message received by one of our BRICS’s clinicians.
  15. 15. Community school challenges • Young people from highly disadvantaged and dysfunctional backgrounds at risk of or experiencing substance use and mental health problems. • Challenging behavioural and welfare management issues. • Lack of sufficient resources or expertise to manage the full range of student welfare issues. • Community schools often represent the last chance for vulnerable young people to remain engaged with education.
  16. 16. The demographics of the BRICS kids • 38% unstable circumstances, incl. homelessness • 13% out-of-home care • 68% problematic household substance use • 67% principal drug of choice daily • 20% principal drug of choice several days a week • 91% polydrug users • 79% no prior drug treatment (Deakin University 2013). Of the 79 young people engaged in stage 1 of the BRICS program:
  17. 17. Deakin University research partnership • Five year comprehensive evaluation, incl. literature review to establish BRICS evidence-base. • Project measured according to a range of participant impacts including substance use, physical and mental health, levels of connectedness, legal issues, psychological factors and well-being. Preliminary results evidence the significant benefits of the BRICS model: • High student, teacher and carer engagement with the project. • Significant improvements across a range of impacts. • High levels of client and teaching staff satisfaction with the service provided.
  18. 18. What we know to date... Embedding clinicians into education settings means: • Therapeutic relationships form organically: students feel comfortable in both approaching and being approached by the clinician to access support – in stage 1 just under 40% of referrals to BRICS were student self referrals. • Maintained engagement: 30% of students across the initial 2 pilot schools were engaged in the program; the average length a young person stayed in program being 6.7 months. • Greater welfare capacity of the education setting: onsite, easily accessible professional development, secondary consultation and specialist workshops means education settings are better equipped to identify, work with and refer at-risk young people.
  19. 19. Why the embedding services model? • Breaks down barriers to help-seeking and access. • Sees the early identification, engagement and treatment of at-risk young people. • Builds welfare capacity by supporting and educating the people who work with these young people. • Increases resilience and protective factors. • Encourages coordinated service delivery between different sectors.
  20. 20. Why educational settings? Schools and TAFE institutions are: • Universal services uniquely placed to identify at-risk young people and their families. • Safe and familiar environments for young people.
  21. 21. Where to from here? There is a need for a greater government-funded welfare response to address the high prevalence of substance use and mental health issues across educational settings. We need to provide a targeted, coordinated response that brings together the education and welfare sectors to prevent vulnerable young people falling through the gaps.
  22. 22. BRICS stage 2 • Build a stronger body of evidence for the embedding services model. • Actively work with our research, education and welfare sector partners, and with government to more effectively meet the needs of at-risk young people. • Advocate for a reform which places a new focus on strengthening the relationship between the education and welfare sectors, including a universal platform of service collaboration that sees services embedded within educational settings.
  23. 23. Celebrating the project on a national scale Excellence in Treatment Services for Young People 2012 National Drug and Alcohol Awards