Help2WIN provides an initial assessment for young people presenting with mental health conditions or related concerns for the first time to the Emergency Department at the Children’s Hospital in Westmead. This service provides short-term management and facilitates referrals to appropriate local services.
Logan* is a 13-year-old boy referred to Help2WIN by his high school counsellor who felt that he would benefit from community support, carer support and short-term therapeutic interventions.
Logan was an energetic boy, who usually did well at school, however, was struggling with online learning during lockdown, as he was an active learner and had been diagnosed with ADHD in the past. Logan was not logging into class, and, when his camera was on, was often climbing a tree or in his shed. Logan’s grandmother was calling the school daily for support. A learning support officer was phoning Logan every morning to encourage him to join in online.
After speaking with Logan’s grandmother, the Help2WIN team learnt that he had recently lost his father after a long history of heart problems and had seen Therapy4KIDS for support with grief and a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Logan’s grandmother had been his main carer for a long time and although she did not feel she needed help, it was obvious that, after four months of lockdown, her patience was wearing thin. At the time of referral, she described her grandson as, “out of control, aggressive and sometimes violent, or extremely sad and depressed”. Recently, she had noticed Logan entering a “zombie state”, and he had mentioned seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. Logan’s grandmother was worried as her family had a strong history of schizophrenia and suicide. Help2WIN spoke with Therapy4KIDS and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s (CHW) Emergency department for historical information. Based on the combined information, Help2WIN referred Logan to the headspace Early Psychosis team.
When the Help2WIN team met with Logan, they used sensory tools to engage him in an hour-long conversation. He identified a mentor from his boxing club, and Help2WIN arranged for regular phone chats whilst boxing was on hold during lockdown. Speaking with Logan’s grandmother, Help2WIN validated her challenges and reassured her that she was doing well in caring for her grandson. They also recommended some Grandparents as Carers groups, and local gardening groups to support her wellbeing.
Working with Logan’s school, Help2WIN provided tips on highlighting his strengths, such as his abilities as a hands-on learner. The team adjusted expectations of Logan’s attendance online and the purpose of Helpline reports as some teachers had raised concerns for his welfare but had been hesitant to report this. The team explained the purpose of reporting and that this might assist Logan and his grandmother to receive extra support and prevent placement breakdown. As a result, the Department of Communities and Justice got involved to provide additional support to Logan and his grandma.
‘The last time I spoke to grandma, Logan had an appointment with the headspace psychiatrist to review his medication and she was feeling a lot more positive about caring for him and his mental health. This is a young person who could’ve slipped through the gaps.’ – Help2Win Team Member.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of this client
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