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JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

headspace - Australia's innovation in youth mental health: who are the clients and why are they presenting?

Debra J Rickwood, Nic R Telford, Alexandra G Parker, Chris J Tanti, Patrick D McGorry
Medical Journal of Australia 2014 February 3, 200 (2): 108-11
24484115

OBJECTIVES: To provide the first national profile of the characteristics of young people (aged 12-25 years) accessing headspace centre services - the Australian Government's innovation in youth mental health service delivery - and investigate whether headspace is providing early service access for adolescents and young adults with emerging mental health problems.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Census of all young people accessing a headspace centre across the national network of 55 centres comprising a total of 21 274 headspace clients between 1 January and 30 June 2013.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Reason for presentation, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, stage of illness, diagnosis, functioning.

RESULTS: Young people were most likely to present with mood and anxiety symptoms and disorders, self-reporting their reason for attendance as problems with how they felt. Client demographic characteristics tended to reflect population-level distributions, although clients from regional areas and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background were particularly well represented, whereas those who were born outside Australia were underrepresented.

CONCLUSION: headspace centres are providing a point of service access for young Australians with high levels of psychological distress and need for care in the early stages of the development of mental disorder.

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