NSW Health via MH-Kids, the policy and planning unit for child and adolescent mental health in NSW, is responsible for the following programs and initiatives. For more information on any of these programs and initiatives, please contact MH-Kids on (02) 9816 0397.

CAMHS
NSW Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) Program
Parenting Program For Mental Health
Safe Start
School-Link
Useful Contacts

CAMHS

CAMHS are specialist mental health services for children and adolescents up to the age of 18yrs and their families. The aim of NSW Health CAMHS is to improve the mental health of these young people and to help them, their families and others caring for them to optimise their development and to build a secure base for their futures.

CAMHS services vary in each Area Health Service. For the great majority of children and adolescents with mental health problems, care is best provided in community settings.

Services provided include:

  • Specialist community based services for children and adolescents and their families
  • Specialist day programs for more intensive treatment
  • Specialist acute and non-acute inpatient services for children and adolescents
  • Specialist outreach services such as the telepsychiatry program to increase support for families and service providers in rural communities
  • Support for Children of Parents with a Mental Illness
  • Forensic services for adolescents whose mental health problems have led to interaction with the justice system

CAMHS provide priority access for children, adolescents and families at highest risk for current or future impairment and for those with the greatest need for specialist intensive and often long-term mental health interventions, especially those who have been exposed to multiple risk factors for mental health problems.

NSW Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) Program

A state-wide COPMI program has been established in NSW since 1996/7 with the provision of recurrently funded COPMI worker positions in Area Health Services. It promotes prevention and early intervention services that incorporates a parenting perspective into mental health services and a mental health perspective into parenting and children's services.
Not all children of parents with mental illness will experience difficulties as a result of their parents' illness. Many parents who have a mental health problem are capable parents and cope very well. However, the child-parent interaction can be compromised by factors related to the illness such as severity, chronicity or phase of the illness, and by the environment, such as the degree of support from the family and community. These factors increase children's vulnerability to various physical, cognitive, social, behavioural and mental health difficulties.

Parenting Program For Mental Health

The Parenting Program for Mental Health aims to prevent behavioural and emotional problems in young children in NSW. Parenting programs can have a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and disorders. The Program provides state-wide coordination to assist Area Mental Health Services in their role to promote and raise awareness to access and to referral pathways to parenting programs with other stakeholders and in collaboration with mental health as a specialist service targeting the mental health population.

Safe Start

The SAFE START model ensures that every woman within the NSW public health system who is expecting or caring for a baby is screened for depression and receives at least two psychosocial assessments: first during the course of their pregnancy and again during the first 12 months after birth.

Women and families requiring extra support and care during the perinatal period are identified through the SAFE START model. This initiative is training health workers to identify and help parents who are expecting or caring for a baby and who need extra support and help, particularly for families who are at risk of, or experiencing mental health problems. It focuses on early intervention and access to care and appropriate management of risk factors for parent-infant-family mental health problems.

School-Link

NSW School-Link is a long standing initiative through which NSW Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services deliver specialist mental health services to children and young people in schools and TAFEs in partnership with the Department of Education and Communities. School-Link operates in over 3000 NSW schools and TAFEs in partnership with teachers, school counsellors and specialist mental health staff.

School-Link is a statewide function of NSW Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and provides specialist mental health services through consultation liaison, clinical care planning for recovery and the delivery of specialist mental health individual and group interventions in schools.

School-Link strengthens the early identification of mental health issues for children and young people, provision of evidence-informed early intervention programs in schools and TAFEs, early access to specialist mental health services and support for the recovery journey.

For more information on School-Link please refer to the NSW School-Link Strategy and Action Plan 2014-2017.

Useful Contacts

Mental Health 24 Hour Emergency Contacts

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Page Updated: Thursday 26 March 2015