YP get ahead with headSTART

Life at LLW

Our headspace Upper Coomera service opened in the midst of the pandemic in 2020 and was operating at full capacity within three months. This demand remained consistent, as the service is located in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.

Whilst the service was meeting an important need in the community, the constantly high demand created its own set of challenges. The traditional headspace service model of assessing the young person at their first appointment and then referring them to a private practitioner meant there was a 6-8 month waiting list for appointments. Private pracs were also very hard to come by, which only exacerbated the problem.

Some out-of-the-box thinking was required, so UC Team Leader Deleted User got her team together to look at options, including different different service models being trialled by headspace national. Rose and Lissy Suthers attended training in headSTART, a new model where each session is treated “as if it’s going to be the only session”.

headSTART provides the young person with as much assistance as possible with their concerns, as soon as possible. Young people are offered 1-3 up-front therapy sessions with an experienced mental health clinician. Family can attend the sessions as well. After three sessions, the young person and clinician work together to map the best ongoing pathway. For many young people, three sessions meets their needs.

Positive feedback

The new model was introduced on 1 September 2022, and the feedback from young people, their families and carers has been very positive. Our clinicians are also finding the new model more fulfilling, knowing they can meet the needs of young people more effectively.

The wait time for ongoing therapy has been halved, freeing up pathways for people who are ready for more intensive support.

Outcome measures were also incorporated into the model.  Young people are encouraged to complete their outcome measures (known as HAPI in headspace world), and completion rates have doubled. A short evaluation survey with a QR code captures satisfaction levels at the end of each session. These have been consistently high.

Hats off to Rose and the UC headspace team for doing the groundwork to introduce a new model. Your hard work is already paying dividends. The young people in the region are fortunate to have you in their corner!