Youth health services are specialist services providing multidisciplinary, primary healthcare to young people. Focusing on engaging disadvantaged young people, they deliver flexible and unique services to young people in relaxed and comfortable youth-friendly environments. Youth health services work in partnership with other government and non-government services. Following are youth health services funded by NSW Health.
Hospital-based specialist units provide expert multidisciplinary assessment and care to young people, their parents, carers and families. Other hospitals provide specialised services for young people, such as antenatal clinics or other supports for young people in hospital as offered by Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Youth Team.
Young people can also access services through community health centres, which provide primary health care services to the entire community.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services provide specialist community-based services for young people aged 17 and under, their parents, carers, and families. Youth Mental Health Services for 14-24 year olds are located in youth-friendly settings where mental health services are integrated and sometimes co-located with primary health, drug & alcohol and other services for young people.
Sexual health services across NSW provide marginalised young people with free and confidential testing and treatment for sexually transmissible infections. General Practice is the key provider of sexual health services for the majority of young people. The Play Safe website and the Sexual Health Info Link (phone 1800 451 624) provide information and referral to these services for young people.
Aboriginal community controlled health services, also known as Aboriginal medical services, provide culturally appropriate primary health care and health services to young people within the communities they serve in keeping with the Aboriginal holistic definition of health.
NSW Health provides statewide specialist services. These include:
General practitioners provide diagnosis, treatment, support and referral for adolescent health problems. For young people who want to talk about their health or get help with a problem, general practitioners are often the first point of contact with the health system.
Many youth services have clinics to improve access to healthcare for disadvantaged young people. Clinics that may operate in youth services include bulk billed GP clinics, sexual health clinics or counselling services developed in partnership between health services and the youth service.
headspace is a federally-funded program that allows young people to seek help early via youth friendly, integrated, multidisciplinary service centres. headspace can help young people aged 12 to 25 years with general health, mental health and counselling, education, employment and other services, alcohol and other drug services.
Youth health coordinators work towards improving young people’s access to health services. They provide a point of coordination for youth health activities and services in NSW Health, and undertake planning, networking, mapping and professional development activities.
Some local NSW Health services have focused on improving the youth friendliness of mainstream services. Youth consultants may be paid to rate services for their youth friendliness and provide feedback about how the service improved their ability to reach, attract, engage and retain young people in need or at risk (see Northern Sydney Youth Health Promotion as an example).