Australia’s leading mental health services for youth
Mental health services make a real and ever-lasting impact on people’s lives. A recent study by Headspace suggests every third young adult (34%) in Australia reports high or very high levels of psychological distress, which signifies the importance of focusing on improving the mental health of young people.
Founded in 1994, Youth Focus is a Western Australian not-for-profit organisation that helps at-risk young people, from 12 to 25 years old, rise above challenges and lead full and healthy lives. The organisation does this through the provision of accessible and innovative mental health programs and services. Youth Focus operates across Western Australia with its head office at Burswood and offices in Albany, Geraldton, Midland, Joondalup, Mandurah, Bunbury and Meekatharra, as well as a number of outreach locations, schools and community hubs.
“We are a mental health charity that specialises in young people, in the range of 12 to 25 years old. The reason for choosing this specific age bracket is research has shown that about three-quarters of common mental health problems emerge before the age of 25. And, with early intervention, young people have a much better chance of leading a fulfilling and healthy life,” said Raj Thethy, Chief Financial Officer, Youth Focus. “We are unique - we are the only specialist youth mental health organisation in Western Australia, and possibly Australia.”
“We are also the lead agency for four headspace centres,” added Raj. Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12 to 25-year olds. Headspace can help young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and drug services and work and study support.
Expansion of operations and the need for mobility
Youth Focus delivers frontline services and education programs which aim to reduce symptoms associated with suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm, and build long-term mental wellbeing to help young people reach their full potential.
In addition to its core service offering of free face-to-face counselling, the organisation engages with communities to educate and build awareness about youth mental health issues and suicide prevention. As part of this engagement, Youth Focus delivers education programs in schools and communities across Western Australia.
Youth Focus delivers the Mental Notes education program in schools across Western Australia to help young people understand that mental health issues can impact anyone and that there is help. A key priority of education is to de-stigmatise mental health issues for young people, so, they are empowered to seek help and lead healthy and meaningful lives.
“We deliver the Mental Notes program to year nines, because, it’s a particularly challenging year for young people as they transition to high school,” explained Raj.
With a vision to expand their operations, Youth Focus started services in Meekatharra where mental health services are not easily available.
“There is an opportunity for us to work with young people from these remote areas given the greater need for support services in these areas.”
Importance of mobility for mission-critical operations
To efficiently offer services across WA, Youth Focus needed to be mobile so that they could maintain flexibility in providing services to as many young people as possible.
“Mobility is really important as we want to continually review our services to ensure we are operating in areas of highest need. Our clinicians need tools to communicate and to record case notes which are important to ensure ongoing delivery quality of services to every client,” said Raj.
Understanding the critical requirements of Youth Focus and the nature of its operations, Telstra offered Adaptive Mobility enterprise plan with customised features that enabled them to reach more young people and support them in every possible way.
“When Telstra created this enterprise arrangement, it made a lot of sense, from our perspective, as it gave us what we needed to successfully deliver our services. With our operations model, we needed the ability to scale up or down depending on the business requirements and that is one of the reasons why we chose Telstra.”
Raj Thethy, Chief Financial Officer, Youth Focus
“Telstra helped us to reach young people when they needed us the most during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than seeing young people face-to-face, we could now do it virtually - thanks to technology. Young people are, generally, comfortable with technology which helped too.”
Adaptive mobility led to simplified operations
With the help of Telstra Adaptive Mobility, Youth Focus managed to help more young people virtually than ever before as the mobility solution offered the much-needed flexibility, reliability and scalability for the organisation.
“Moving forward, Telstra gives the adaptability and flexibility needed for our operations. For example, if we want to move our operations from one location to another, it is easier to do so,” mentioned Raj.
“Flexibility is a big one for us, it is nice to simply order phones without added complications. Cost savings are also important, as being a not-for-profit, the more the resources we can channel to our core services, the more the people can benefit from our services. Ability to manage these phones is great too,” claimed Raj. “We get access to the T-Connect platform with which we manage our service requests and place orders. It is now easier to manage the fleet as we have several phones, dongles and iPads. Having one platform to manage these devices is incredible.”
Youth Focus chose Telstra as their preferred partner because of Telstra’s unmatchable presence and reliability across the country.
“Telstra was the obvious choice of a telco that provides reliable services in remote and regional parts of WA. To run an efficient operation in a remote or rural location, we need reliability in a network. I see the relationship with Telstra being important for us to underpin our service delivery. The advantage of 5G moving forward could be another crucial tool which we may need to provide our services to people in need.”
“It’s important to talk to providers, like Telstra, and see what’s out there in terms of new technology. We would strongly recommend Telstra for any organisations that have operations in rural and remote Australia. Youth Focus is keen to continue to collaborate with Telstra in deploying innovative solutions to make a real positive impact on the community,” concluded Raj.