Ms Louise Ryan1, Ms Stacy Leavens1, Mr David Sostaric1
1Capital Health Network – ACT Primary Health Network, Deakin, Australia
The vast majority of children with mental health issues have experienced some form of trauma, which can have lasting negative impacts on the child as well as parents, relatives and others who are in some form close to them. The impacts of trauma on children may include but are not necessarily limited to behavioural changes, nightmares, anxiety, grief and low mood. For some children, the adverse impacts related to a traumatic event can be lifelong.
The ACT PHN has funded CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn to deliver a free, therapeutic trauma-informed care service for children aged 12 and under in the ACT, which is accessible during both business and after-hours periods. Care focuses on the provision of psychological treatment to children who have suffered mentally or physically as a result of trauma in their lives, which may have occurred as a result of an accident, family violence or other means.
The Stepping Stones Program is based on a recently developed Trauma Informed Model of Care and supports children to develop skills to better manage or overcome challenges faced in their lives as a result of being in a traumatic situation. It highlights the significant value that Allied Health Professionals such as Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Family Care Workers can deliver to make a lasting positive difference in the lives of children who have faced mental health challenges as a direct result of trauma.
Louise Ryan is a Planning Officer at the Capital Health Network (CHN), the ACT’s Primary Health Network (ACT PHN). Louise has special interest in mental health, population health planning and exploring innovative service design and program implementation, such as multidisciplinary models of care.