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Making mental health care better for our kids

October 12, 2016

Making mental health care better for our kids

The Canterbury Health System’s commitment to giving our kids the best access to mental health care has led to some changes to improve services.

The Child Adolescent and Family (CAF) Specialist Mental Health Service has undergone unprecedented growth over the past 15 years, which has accelerated post-earthquakes.

Toni Gutschlag, Canterbury DHB General Manager Mental Health, says community expectations and changes in the Canterbury population have created the need for a more flexible, responsive, efficient and integrated approach to service delivery.
“There has been an enormous increase in demand and the way we provided services was no longer ideal for delivering the best care possible to our community,” Toni says.
“To be able to meet the ongoing demand in Canterbury, we have set up two teams, based at Sylvan Street or The Princess Margaret Hospital.

“We have also recruited an additional eight full time staff to support these changes and care for more people, with the overall goal of better meeting the demand by being a more seamless and better integrated service.”

Toni says the new model of care is one that’s been adopted from Canterbury DHB’s successful adult service model, adapted to suit the needs of children and young people.

“The overall goal is to create better access for service users, reduce waiting times and ensure our children and young people are getting the help they need,” she says.

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“The new model means children and young people no longer have to transfer to new services as they age – an issue in our current system that we have now resolved.”

The new structure will help create an environment that will enable the CAF service to meet the challenges presented by increased demand.

Toni says it follows significant consultation with staff, service user’s representatives, family advisors and other related service providers, that began about 18 months ago.

The two teams have been renamed CAF South Community and Outreach Team – based at The Princess Margaret Hospital, and CAF North Community and Outreach Team – based on Sylvan Street.

CAF South and CAF North teams will support young people from five to 18 years throughout Canterbury.

“We will also have a new service pathway for children under five years of age. This is in addition to services provided at other sites in Canterbury such as Ashburton and Rangiora. Whakatata House in Cashel Street will house other CAF services.

“Our commitment to delivering the best possible service for you and your family/whānau will always be our priority.

“We are looking forward to seeing some improvements as a result of these changes.”


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