10401 – Perth Inner City Youth Service Inc

Perth Inner City Youth Service Inc

Good day

Following attending “Improving the NDIS Experience” forum facilitated by COMHWA in Floreat, Perth WA today which focuses on psychosocial and co-existing disabilities I would like to make the following written contributions.

Firstly my experience is both as a Carer / father of a young man with mental health concerns and suicidality ideations etc over more than 6 years; and professionally as an Executive Officer in a Youth service which provides psychosocial support to young people from 15 years to 25 years who also experience homelessness and do not have supportive families. I am a professional of 35 years’ experience in allied health and community services to young people.

My key points to raise are;
• There is significant challenges to be overcome for young people who are experiencing early onset of mental health concerns who are not presenting to mental health professionals or even GPS, and who do not have stable lifestyles, relationships and living arrangements.
• Young people who are experiencing mental health challenges and homelessness have exasperated hardship,
• When Young people experiencing mental health challenges and homelessness also do not have a supportive and capable network of people (family, Carers, Youthworkers, significant trusted others) then the process of response is prolonged creating elevated personal challenges and social and economic hardships. (this is the experience PICYS sees in the majority of the young people we work with)
• Evidence demonstrates that when a person has “Safe and Trusted” relationships that their mental health improves, as does other outcomes measures in their lives, as attested by the person themselves. ( PICYS can share Most Significant Change – Transformative Evaluation – Young Peoples Stories research 2019. (*) )
• For Young people who are not in the company, care or support of their families, we suggest there be a Mature Minor recognition to enable them to rightly apply for NDIS if considered appropriate. Suggested option similar to those who may also be eligible for other Commonwealth support / payments in their own capacity eg like a youth independence assessment.
• In the contexts mentioned above, and from the participation in today’s forum, it is evident that most successful applicants have had the support and assistance of a “Trusted” person along the process of applying. This is an area to address for young people who do not have such trusted people in their lives, especially those who are experiencing homelessness co-occurring with mental health challenges – professional youth focused psychosocial support is invaluable. PICYS has considerable experience in this area, with young people in early stages of the mental health awareness and diagnose, and who do not have supportive family or other adults. There is also a higher prevalence of this amongst LGBTI and Trans and Gender Diverse young people experiencing homelessness and mental health issues. This is an area PICYS has become a niche provider in, with partnerships with mental health professionals, peer associations like TransFolkofWA, CREATE, plus Community Housing providers and researchers like Edith Cowan University and Telethon Kids Institute. Yet PICYS is a very small team of professionals – only scant resourcing levels.
• Young People who are experiencing the co-existence of mental health and homelessness and other related matters absolutely need specialised support in this area, from trusted parties involving specialist homelessness and mental health providers, along with peer supports and pro social activities and communities. Otherwise the ACCESS and EQUITY and TIMELY elements of the Guarantee or Promise are not of much value or significance in reality for them. These young people experience elevated concerns and risks and require the earliest intervention possible.
PICYS would suggest the resourcing of specialist focused strategies to identify and respond to these young peoples situations and needs in a most timely manner and process.

There is no Participant Guarantee for someone who, for no fault of their own, can not become a Participant – Lets Not Leave AnyOne Behind

Please feel free to contact for a copy of the mentioned research (*), as its not printed as yet. Final draft to print attached.

Thanking you, feel free to contact us.