Meet the headspace Shepparton team
Published at: 11 Oct 2019
YOUTH ACCESS TEAM
HARRISON CARTER, PROVISIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST, YOUTH ACCESS TEAM AND ENHANCED MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS
Harrison Carter is one of the friendly faces who completes the intake process at headspace in Shepparton.
Whether clients walked in the door or accessed the service through their GP or school, Mr Carter said the Youth Access Team was the first point of contact for anyone using the service.
“We do the initial intake process and initial assessment and make that decision about which pathway they’ll take here – whether they stay with the access team for a brief intervention or whether they go into private, or the Enhanced Care or Individual Placement Support teams and just figure out where they’re going to best fit,” he said.
Mr Carter said the assessment process involved looking at a range of factors like family background, education, employment, different activities the person is involved in, relationships and mental health concerns.
“Really it’s just giving us a big picture about what’s going on for them and that will help us understand which pathway might suit them.”
He said referrals came from a range of places including general practitioners, schools and services such as The Bridge Youth Service and Berry Street as well as the youths themselves or their parents.
As well as his role in the access team, Mr Carter said this week he began a shared role in the Enhanced Mental Health in Schools team.
“Typically, it’s brief intervention as you would experience here in the centre but it’s just reaching out to schools that are a bit further out that may find it difficult actually coming into the centre,” he said.
Since starting at the Shepparton centre in 2017, Mr Carter said he had really enjoyed working with youth.
“I think it’s a group of people that don’t really have their own voice at times,” he said.
One of the concerns that was regularly raised from parents regarding youth mental health was the increase in young people engaging with gaming, according to Mr Carter.
“Gaming in particular is an issue that we see a lot of young people trying to manage,” he said.
“From my experience…it seems to be not so much an issue for young people but more of an issue for the parents and a lot of the parents really focus on trying to reduce the gaming behaviour and I find that they really struggle with that.
“One of the things I find really beneficial when working with young people is to get the parents to focus on not necessarily reducing the gaming behaviour but focusing on other activities that they get fulfilment from or enjoyment.”
JESS WELLMAN, YOUTH ACCESS WORKER
Jess Wellman is another staff member who greets new clients seeking out the service of headspace Shepparton.
“With the age group we see being mostly school, it’s a lot of situational things – bullying, parental separation, conflict in the home, conflict with peers and then closely beside that is depression and anxiety presentations,” she said.
Splitting her time across intakes and seeing ongoing clients, Ms Wellman said she knew psychology was for her when she started an undergraduate degree in health sciences.
Ms Wellman said seeing her existing clients could mean anything from chatting to someone having a bad day right through to people that had a diagnosis of something, and everything in between.
She said she did not know she wanted to work with young people while studying her Bachelor of Nursing.
“I worked with adults and found it quite frustrating because they’d fallen through the gaps for so long and I also worked in the involuntary system as opposed to here where it’s early intervention,” Ms Wellman said.
“I guess (here) the outcomes feel a lot more hopeful.”
Being a Shepparton local, Ms Wellman said she wanted to remain in the sector, working at headspace’s Shepparton centre.
ENHANCED CARE TEAM
JOSIE CARLIN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST REGISTRAR, ENHANCED CARE TEAM
Based in headspace Shepparton’s Enhanced Care Team, Josie Carlin sees clients with more complex and severe mental health conditions.
“In my role I’m often seeing the people who have maybe not as much support in their lives,” she said.
The Clinical Psychologist Registrar said her role was an ideal psychologist’s role due to the amount of intervention that could be carried out.
She explained that could range from simply having a conversation with a client right through to conducting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Ms Carlin’s clients all came through headspace’s intake team and therefore young people could not self-refer to see this team in particular.
“It’s very much a headspace discretionary one,” she said.
While she had not always planned on working with young people, Ms Carlin said she had discovered it was a fantastic sector to work in since starting her role there more than two years ago.
“After the masters program I wanted to work rurally; I knew some people in the area,” she said.
“I hadn’t seen myself working with young people when I studied, however, I think in doing this work I’ve found it to be such a great area to work in because you can actually make so much difference at this stage of life for people rather than getting in there when these issues have been going on for 10 years.”
Typically, Ms Carlin said she saw clients with personality disorders, complex trauma sometimes with emerging psychosis, bipolar, depression and anxiety.
“We also see a lot of people with neurodevelopmental disorders… who are struggling with other mental health concerns,” she said.
Ms Carlin said aside from intervention and therapy, her role involved coordinating other support systems for clients, such as making phone calls to their school, parents and more.
“I suppose a lot of the work we do is about linking people with the support they already have access to, like family, school, wellbeing, teachers, friends, sports coaches and anyone in the community that can be supportive for the young person,” she said.
“For young people who are experiencing tough times, it’s maybe about realising what kind of supports might be available to you.”
INDIVIDUAL PLACEMENT AND SUPPORT TEAM
BRETT O’KEEFFE & COURTNEY GORDON
After a successful trial at headspace Shepparton, the IPS program has been extended for a further two years and applied to 10 more headspace centres.
Run by Brett O’Keeffe and Courtney Gordon in Shepparton, the pair said they were also in the same roles during the program’s trial.
“Predominantly we work with young people looking for employment or education,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
“Our day to day role changes every day.”
Coming from education and employment provider backgrounds, the pair work alongside clients who have been referred on to them.
“The only way to link to the team is to be a headspace client,” Ms Gordon said.
They stressed that people could not self-refer for this program in particular.
Mr O’Keeffe said he had always been proactive in the youth space.
“I believe youth are the future – if we don’t look after our youth today, what kind of a future are we going to have,” he said.
“I’m also a very strong advocate for removing the stigma around mental health.
“Mental health doesn’t discriminate.”
Ms Gordon said the program was about bridging the gap between employment and education.
“Statistically people's mental health improves when they are employed," Mr O'Keeffe said
“Instead of sitting at home with ruminating thoughts.”
He said many of their clients had not completed high school or a higher level of education and they often thought there were no avenues for them.
The pair said they had seen fantastic outcomes from the first trial and noted that clients could stay in the program for 12 months to receive support during their employment or education.
“We continue to offer the support,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
Ms Gordon said she had loved providing the program since she began during the first trial in Shepparton.
Learn more about headspace Shepparton here.