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Australas Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;17(3):189-94. doi: 10.1080/10398560802657322.

Delivering youth-specific mental health services: the advantages of a collaborative, multi-disciplinary system.

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  • 1The Clinical Centre, Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



Evidence suggests that quality mental health care is based on well-integrated multi-disciplinary care provided by a range of mental health, substance use, and general healthcare clinicians. There is a growing focus in Australia on providing this type of mental health care to young people, particularly those in the early stages of a major disorder. The development of such services has proceeded on the basis of limited service-based data and has also been impeded by current healthcare funding structures.


This report outlines the service characteristics of three models: a traditional 'fee for service' model, a specialized youth mental health clinic, and a new headspace multi-disciplinary site in South Western Sydney.


Naturalistic data from these three services collected during their developmental phase indicate that each model is associated with differential demographic, illness and service organization characteristics.


Compared with 'fee-for-service' type care, specialized youth models provide greater access to a broad range of multi-disciplinary clinicians.

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