The Strategy sets out the vision for an integrated, high quality and evidence-based approach to infant, child and adolescent (0-18 years) mental health care, research, and education across the Melbourne Children’s Campus - The Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The University of Melbourne.
The Campus Mental Health Strategy recognises that multiple internal and external factors prevent children and their families from receiving the right mental health care, at the right time and in the right place. With wide acknowledgement of fragmented mental health systems across Victoria, the RCH has seen a 400% increase in mental health presentations in Emergency. In addition, our research also shows us that:
- only 30% of carers are confident that they would recognise mental health symptoms in their child;
- carers and primary care clinicians are often unsure how to access help for children;
- up to 60% of children with chronic physical illness have significant mental health symptoms;
- having a child with mental health or behavioural concerns stigmatises carers and siblings;
- children in out of home care have a 3-fold increased risk of mental health issues; and
- less than half of the 17% of children with mental health disorders are accessing any care.
Children and their parents/carers and families are at the heart of the Strategy with active participation in the design, development, evaluation, and improvement of The Strategy throughout the 5 years. The Strategy is informed by the key issues facing mental health care, research and education at The RCH and the Campus more broadly, and proposes the vision for the way forward.