Authors: Royal Children’s Hospital Mental Health Service and Travancore
Event: 2002 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Gold
Award category: Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention Program or Project
Abstract: Creating growthful therapeutic encounters for children, young people and adults is at the very core of what constitutes effective therapeutic group work. Since its inception in 1999, the Community Group Program (CGP) has delivered close to 200 groupwork programs as at April 2002. Our aim is to creatively engage children and young people within our mental health service, and within our local school communities, in effective ‘schools-based’ therapeutic groupwork programs that enhance their mental health and increase the accessibility and responsiveness of mental health services. The CGP is a collaborative venture between child and adolescent mental health and education within Western Metropolitan Melbourne, which also draws upon wider partnerships in the local community. A three-year evaluation (1999-2001) reveals that we have serviced over 1200 children, young people and families, and delivered well over 150 group work programs. Using standarised psychological measures, our evaluation demonstrates that post-group, children and young people exhibit a significant reduction in hyperactive behaviours, emotional symptoms and conduct problems, with significant improvement in positive social behaviours. Description of Facility/Organisation: The CGP is funded, staffed and resourced by two separate organisations. The Royal Children’s Hospital Mental Health Service (RCH-MHS) and the Department of Education & Training Travancore School (DE&T). In addition, Operation Newstart Western is a Police, Education and mental health initiative for 14 to 18 year olds which is co-located with the CPG. ONW has a full time teacher and police officer. The RCH-MHS caters for infants, children, young people (ages 0-15 years) and their families residing in Melbourne’s Western and North Western Metropolitan Regions as designated by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Travancore School is co-located with RCH-MHS at its Flemington campus and caters for in-patient mental health clients in addition to clients serviced within CGP. The area covered by the CGP also encompasses DE&T’s Western Metropolitan Region and approximately one third of the North Metropolitan Region.