Val Black, Clinical Director, in the spotlight.

Child and Youth Mental Health

Val Black, Clinical Director, in the spotlight.

Mental health doesn’t discriminate – it impacts everyone. Any child or family no matter what their background can find themselves in a situation where they are being treated by the Child, Adolescent, and Family mental health emergency team (CAF).

Often it’s the police who bring these children to the emergency service and it’s terribly distressing for the young person and their families, who are often in disbelief that they’ve reached this point. When you’re in a really distressed state having to walk past a waiting room filled with other families and children waiting for scheduled appointments can be horrific for everyone involved – including protecting others using the service.

Māia Health Foundation has stepped up to change this. Māia's funding will enable a separate space for emergency presentations that is private and contained – a psychologically safe place for our young people. It helps preserve the mana of the young person and their family at what is a very difficult time.

We sat down with Clinical Director, Val Black who is excited about the new facility being created.

Could you tell us about the range of services that will be delivered from this building?

Our outpatient teams who treat a full range of psychiatric diagnoses  - including Anxiety, ADHD, Depression, bipolar disorder OCD, psychosis, and alcohol and drug issues - will be based there, as well as our CAF Emergency Team who see patients with acute and urgent presentations.

What would be a common example of someone with an emergency presentation being seen by the CAF team?

A common presentation to CAF would be an emergency phone call from a school counsellor concerned about a young woman who has disclosed a plan to suicide, usually when the counsellor is concerned about her immediate safety.  CAF will work to support the school, ensure the family are aware, and triage with the family. We arrange a face-to-face assessment and look up if there have been previous contact with services from past overdoses, trauma, being difficult to engage, alcohol and drug issues.  Aiming all the while to provide therapy for our client to be able to identify and change their negative thinking patterns and push for positive behavioral changes

What difference will Māia’s contribution to this building make?

Māia’s contribution makes possible the inviting bicultural entrance, the light-filled waiting areas that enable engagement and privacy and the separate emergency entry.  There will be a huge improvement with the more purpose-built therapy spaces, allowing all our services to come together under one roof.  These elements will bring such a different emotional experience to those waiting.

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