1 March 2024

Collaborative actions led by young individuals are key when supporting young Tasmanians to recover from mental health decline.

Image: A teenage girl with pink hair, wearing a pink hoodie, white pants and blue headphones, sits cross-legged on a bed, taking notes and looking at a laptop.

Jenny* was enjoying life as a 16-year-old, thriving socially and academically, when her mental health suddenly declined drastically. She’d had no mental health concerns outside of experiencing anxiety previously.

Life Without Barriers worked with Jenny, her mum, and health services to help Jenny strengthen her mental health just in time for a big transition to year 11.

"It is heartening to see Jenny, who could barely leave her house when she was first referred to us, now embracing life again as a young person with her whole future ahead of her.” Jean, iConnect Clinical Case Manager.

As part of her recovery journey, Jenny joined our intensive iConnect youth mental health outreach support program. The iConnect care team began working with Jenny during her school holidays, two months before starting Year 11. They also worked closely with Jenny’s mum, who played a significant role in Jenny’s road to recovery, supporting Jenny in her day-to-day activities and wellbeing.

At the start of working together, Jenny found it hard to carry out many everyday living activities and slept for long periods during the day.

Jenny led the way with progress toward achieving her goals and advised her iConnect team on what she was comfortable with.

Displaying great courage and determination, Jenny gradually stepped out into the community with her iConnect Clinical Case Manager, Jean, starting with some walks.

As Jenny’s energy built, they visited cafes, which increased her confidence and decreased her anxiety. Jenny’s mum also took an active role in supporting her in daily activities.

Jenny’s mental health started to improve, and she began to think more positively about returning to school. She still had a lot of concerns, so Jean took on a coaching role and partnered with Jenny to prepare for the start of college. She and Jenny attended meetings with college staff, planned the route to get to school together and one by one, took down the barriers that caused Jenny to feel anxious about returning to school.

The iConnect team worked collaboratively throughout the process with the Tasmanian Health Service and in partnership with the Tasmanian Government Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), including medical and therapeutic staff, to support Jenny’s recovery and also to prevent Jenny's mental health from relapsing.

“We are proud of the significant gains Jenny made in her relatively short time working with the iConnect program. Jenny worked towards goals she identified herself, and we tailored our support to meet her needs at each step," said Jean.

When Jenny’s iConnect program ended, her mental wellbeing had improved significantly. She was back to doing her daily activities and taking care of herself like she used to. She attended school full-time and resumed a social life similar to what it was before she became unwell.

Jenny's resilience and the collaborative efforts of iConnect, her mother, and CAMHS proved to be the turning point she needed.

iConnect is funded by the Tasmanian Health Service and works in partnership with the Tasmanian Government Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service across Tasmania. iConnect supports young people to increase their psycho-social functioning through areas such as mental health and life skills development using various psychological therapies. iConnect also works with family members, carers, and support systems to increase their understanding and response to the mental health difficulties being experienced by the young person and family system.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing (2020 – 2022) showed that 38.8% of people aged 16 – 24 had experienced a significant mental health condition during the previous 12-month period.

Life Without Barriers and the Tasmanian Government are working together with individuals and their families to meet the health needs of young Tasmanians who have lived experience of mental health concerns.

*Names have been changed to protect the children in this story.

Mental Health services

Life Without Barriers offers a number of mental health services in select communities across Australia

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