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Open Access Short report

Health and education: service providers in partnership to improve mental health

Valsamma Eapen1*, Lily Lee2 and Craig Austin3

Author Affiliations

1 Academic unit of Child Psychiatry South West Sydney (AUCS), University of New South Wales, ICAMHS, Mental Health Centre, L1 Liverpool Hospital, Elizabeth Street, Liverpool NSW 2170, Sydney, Australia

2 Liverpool-Fairfield Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, 53-65 Mitchell Street, Carramar, Sydney, Australia

3 Glenfield Park, Sydney, Australia

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International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2012, 6:19  doi:10.1186/1752-4458-6-19

Published: 20 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Children and adolescents from complex or disadvantaged backgrounds and multiple needs often are reluctant to seek help and this is particularly relevant in the context of mental health difficulties. Further, the complexity of the health system can be overwhelming to the family who are likely to be chaotic and less able to seek help. The current project piloted an integrated service delivery model involving a child psychiatry service and the department of education to promote access to mental health assessment and intervention to young people attending special education schools in Sydney, Australia.

Findings and conclusion

The project allowed improved access to mental health services for a group of young people who would otherwise not have sought help through traditional referral pathways. Our findings support strategies to promote the social milieu of schools as a way of achieving better mental health and learning outcomes.

Keywords:
Access to mental health services; Children; Adolescents