Media Release - Inquiry into Youth Mental Health in the ACT


Invitation for Public Submissions

INQUIRY INTO YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ACT

The Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs invites submissions to its Inquiry into Youth Mental Health in the ACT.

The Chair of the Committee, Mr Michael Pettersson MLA, said “the Committee resolved to inquire and report on youth mental health in the ACT including prevention and early intervention of mental health and addiction, suicide prevention, roles and responsibilities of the family unit and mental health services available in ACT schools.”

Mr Pettersson said “the Committee invites views from a range of stakeholders and is particularly interested in hearing the voices of the ACT community, including young people and their families.”

The full terms of reference are attached and are available on the Committee’s website -

https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/in-committees/standing-committees-current-assembly/standing-committee-on-education,-employment-and-youth-affairs.

The Committee welcomes submissions from stakeholders and the general public. The Committee is particularly interested in hearing from young people, parents, carers and youth representative bodies. Written submissions should be lodged with the Committee Secretary by close of business on Friday 20 March 2020.

The Committee prefers all submissions to be lodged in electronic form (Word format), although handwritten submissions are acceptable. All submissions, including those sent electronically, must include a name, an email address, a postal address and a telephone contact number. Personal contact details will not be published.

Requests for keeping submissions confidential are possible, however, it is ultimately the Committee’s decision to confer confidentiality on a submission and the Committee remains able to publish the submission at a later date.

Submissions should be forwarded to:

· The Committee Secretary, Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs, Legislative Assembly for the ACT, GPO Box 1020, CANBERRA ACT 2601.

· Email: LACommitteeEEYA@parliament.act.gov.au.

Information on parliamentary privilege and how to lodge a submission is available at:

http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/in-committees/Getting-involved.

The Committee intends to hold public hearings in April 2020 to assist the Inquiry. Please indicate in your written submission if you would like to appear before the Committee. Please be aware that the final witness selection rests with the Committee.

For any further enquiries, please contact the Committee Secretary, Sarah McFadden on (02) 6207 0524 or by email at: LACommitteeEEYA@parliament.act.gov.au.

STATEMENT END—Tuesday 11 February 2020

TERMS OF REFERENCE

INQUIRY INTO YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ACT

The Committee resolves to inquire into and report on the state of youth (under 25 years of age) mental health and operation of youth mental health services across the ACT, with particular reference to:

i. hearing the voices of the ACT community, including young people and their families, young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities, young people living with disability, young people with lived experience of mental health and addiction challenges, young people affected by suicide and people involved in preventing and responding to mental health and addiction challenges;

ii. ACT’s current approach to prevention and early intervention strategies and services for youth mental health and addiction, and what needs to change;

iii. reviewing the work being undertaken in ACT schools to identify students at risk and early intervention strategies available to address such concerns;

iv. the availability of professional mental health services for students and their families at school and out of hours, including weekends and school holidays;

v. reviewing data published by Mission Australia, the Black Dog Institute and other organisations on youth mental health statistics in the ACT, as well as relevant experiences and learnings from other jurisdictions;

vi. reviewing data relating to family-based prevention and early intervention, including the impacts of screen time on children's mental health, family separation/divorce and family lifestyle;

vii. reporting on how the ACT Government is preventing mental health and addiction challenges and responding to the needs of young people with those challenges; and

viii. family based prevention and early intervention strategies, community confidence in the youth mental health system and better outcomes for ATSI, CALD youth, youth living with disability as well as other groups of youth that have disproportionally poorer outcomes.

Areas the inquiry will focus on include:

i. mental health challenges and needs of young people in the ACT across the full spectrum from mental distress to enduring psychiatric illness;

ii. ready access to mental health support and services by young people;

iii. identifying roles and responsibilities of the family unit in supporting youth facing mental health and addiction challenges, and supporting families in carrying out these roles and responsibilities;

iv. prevention and early intervention of mental health and addiction strategies;

v. identifying and responding to young people with mental health and addiction challenges;

vi. youth suicide prevention and support for those close to someone who has taken their own life;

vii. range of services available in ACT schools including counsellors, pastoral care workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals both in schools and within the Directorate;

viii. the extent and availability of mental health first aid training for teachers and learning assistants; and

ix. any other relevant matter.

For further information please contact:

The Committee Chair, Mr Michael Pettersson MLA on 02 6205 1436

The Committee Secretary, Ms Sarah McFadden, on (02) 6207 0524 or by email at LACommitteeEEYA@parliament.act.gov.au.