In 2022, we completed Phase 1 of The Wellbeing Project: co-designing a program to support mental health recovery in young people who have experienced a burn injury.
Previous research found that children and young people who sustain a burn are vulnerable to developing short and long-term mental health problems following the injury.
Our researchers worked with children who experienced a burn injury and their parents and hospital staff, to begin delivery of the program to children who have experienced a burn injury, to improve their resilience and wellbeing.
We are currently recruiting participants for Phase 2 of this project. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Wellbeing-Project@telethonkids.org.au or phone 0493 702 900.
In 2021, we began the Mindful Self-Compassion Study, which modified an existing group self-compassion program for young people in Australia who are LGBTQA+, and explored whether participating in this program would have a positive impact on the mental health of these young people.
The study found that the program did help LGBTQA+ young people to be more self-compassionate, feel less stressed, be less self-critical, feel less inadequate and regulate emotions better than LGBTQA+ young people who had not completed the group program.
Longitudinal data is still being collected from this study.
In 2022, we won grant funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to investigate the cultural safety of mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
The project team is led by Aboriginal researchers and comprises an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal team, who work closely with Aboriginal service providers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in mental health and suicide prevention.
This project will identify the requirements of cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families. Ultimately, we hope that the findings of this project will transform the current mental health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and reduce mental health issues among this group.
Dissociation is a common response to trauma among children and young people. It allows children and young people to disconnect from distressing situations through the compartmentalisation of memory, identity, consciousness, and perception. Although protective at the time of trauma, continued dissociation can lead to significant mental health issues.
WA’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) report the need for more education surrounding trauma and dissociation, in addition to a trauma-focused therapy to promote the mental health of their service users.
This project, funded by Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation (PCHF), aims to develop an intervention for children and young people who experience dissociation following trauma. This intervention will be piloted in participating CAMHS services, along with an education program for clinicians.
Having a newborn child admitted into a NICU can be highly traumatic for parents. The compounding effects of the NICU clinical environment, having a seriously ill child, in addition to the inability to care or adequately bond with your child can be extremely distressing. For some parents, this distress can be severe and persist well beyond the period that their child is discharged from hospital. This is problematic not only for the parent themself, but also for the child. The negative impact that parents’ mental illness can have on a child is considerable, including physical and mental health problems, poor development and relationships, as well as behavioural and emotional problems.
In 2022, we completed the Co-designing an alternative to the emergency department for youth at risk of suicide in the Peel region: The Youth Safe Haven Cafe Project report.
Previous research by Telethon Kids Institute shows that young people and service providers desperately want an alternative to the ED but that none currently exist for young people in WA.
This project aimed to design a Safe Haven Café for young people using a ‘co-design’ method.
Participants all agreed that a Youth Safe Haven Café would be a beneficial and needed service that would provide a safer alternative to the ED, and hopefully help young people to feel calm, listened to, and hopeful about their future.
In early-mid 2022, the Walkern Katatdjin (Rainbow Knowledge) team conducted a national survey with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people aged 14-25 years old.
They were asked about their mental health, social and emotional wellbeing and experiences accessing care.
The survey was designed by Aboriginal, LGBTQA+ and Aboriginal LGBTQA+ people and was built around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ideas of what makes our community members healthy, happy and well.
This is the first national dataset for the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people.
The project team won funding from Embrace @ Telethon Kids to conduct forums with Elders and produce the community report, and the Embrace team also provided communications, design and event management support.
In April 2021, we completed Mind the Distance: Findings from a state-wide survey of young people, parents, and professionals regarding non-face-to-face mental health service delivery during and beyond COVID-19.
The project aimed to better understand the experience of using non-face-to-face mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the perspectives of young people, parents, carers and mental health professionals in WA.
We found that the majority of young people who experienced mental health difficulties reported that these got worse during social distancing restrictions.
Overall, the findings of the project indicate that mental health services shoudl continue to offer face-to-face services to their clients, including 'blended' options to suit the needs of the young person (and parents/carers, if applicable).
We partnered with Ruah Community Services and Samaritans WA to co-design a short-term residential service for young people experiencing suicidal thoughts or distress. This work was funded by the Mental Health Commission.
This service is called a 'Youth Sanctuary' and is based on the Maytree Respite Model developed in the United Kingdom.
In 2023, we won a $508,000 grant from Lotterywest to make the Youth Sanctuary a reality in Subiaco. The space is being refurbished and will open in late 2023 for an 18-month trial. After this, we hope the Youth Sanctuary will be a permanent source of support for young people in WA.