Youth services 14 August 2023

Young people are helping shape designs for new mental health centres

Over 75 per cent of mental health issues begin before the age of 25. That’s why the Victorian Government is working to improve access to mental health support and care for young people.

This includes investing $141 million to deliver new and refurbished Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) centres across Victoria.

YPARC services provide treatment, care and support to young people aged 16-25 who are experiencing mental health challenges and/or psychological distress.

The centres are voluntary, referral-based services. Young people can continue to attend work or school, while receiving the appropriate treatment, care and support they need in a safe, home-like environment. 

The $141 million investment will double the capacity of Victoria’s YPARC network with five new, 10-bed centres to be built in: 

  • Ballarat 
  • Greater Geelong
  • Greater Shepparton
  • Heidelberg
  • Traralgon

Funding will also upgrade existing YPARC centres in Bendigo, Dandenong and Frankston.

Designing with, not for, young people

The Victorian Health Building Authority is delivering a YPARC centre in Ballarat, in partnership with Grampians Health.

Mental health challenges affect young people differently. This means that they can have different needs or preferences on their recovery journey.

That’s why young people with lived experience of mental health challenges are being engaged with to co-design the new YPARC centres.

Young people with lived experience of mental health challenges are being engaged with to co-design the new YPARC centres.

Text on screen: Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) centres. Supporting young people experiencing mental health challenges. Big Plans – full scale floor plans – Ballarat YPARC centre.

Images: timelapse footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Text on screen: The Victorian Government is investing $141 million to deliver five new and three upgraded YPARC centres across the state

Images: montage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Transition slide: The importance of co-design

Images: Mark Thornett, Director of Mental Health, Grampians Health speaks to the camera; footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: Co-design is really important because at the end of the day, we as clinicians and service personnel don't really work or, or live in the facility and are not necessarily receiving that treatment.

Images: Laura, Consumer, Lived Experience, speaks to the camera; footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: I think I'm a youth that was tired of other people telling me what to do and what would be best for me. And I think the whole importance of co-design is that everyone is listening to everybody. 

Images: Hannah Moroney, Child and Youth Consultant, Grampians Health, speaks to the camera; footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: Young people are definitely keen to be heard and engaged if they're respected.

Images: footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans; Ursh, Consumer, Lived Experience, speaks to the camera

Voiceover: Everyone who is working on this, are a lot older than the people who would be going into the YPARC. I think it's just really important because we have very different views.

Images: footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans; Ursh, Consumer, Lived Experience, speaks to the camera

Voiceover: It's not tokenistic. We're hearing from a range of stakeholders. You're having the designers have their voice, you have a lived experience voice, you've got everyone's voice coming together to come up with a plan that's gonna be beneficial to the youth.

Images: Mark Thornett, Director of Mental Health, Grampians Health speaks to the camera; footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: For us to listen to them and actually have that collaborative approach, we'll definitely end up with better outcomes and better systems into the future.

Images: Hannah Moroney, Child and Youth Consultant, Grampians Health, speaks to the camera; footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: We don't just design it and then it's done. It's evolving, a new model of care.

Transition slide: How co-design has shaped the design

Images: Montage of Laura, Consumer, Lived Experience, speaking to the camera, Ursh, Consumer, Lived Experience, speaking to the camera and footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: there wouldn't really necessarily be a use for two family spaces. We were like, I don't think that's needed, we could use that space as a multifaith room. When we consulted the other youth, they really wanted a multifaith room and the plan didn't have one. So we kind of halved an interview room and allowed for a multifaith room to be in there. And we were also able to make our sensory room bigger, which is a huge thing because the sensory room is really important.

Images: Montage of Mark Thornett, Director of Mental Health, Grampians Health speaking to the camera, Hannah Moroney, Child and Youth Consultant, Grampians Health, speaking to the camera and footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: And they made that connection to say this would work better. And at the end of the day we said that absolutely, it makes sense. That has now been included in the design. When we were able to go back to the young people and say, this is the idea that you put on the table and this has happened, they felt that the engagement really was genuine and that their ideas mattered.

I think it's really about the things that are important for them because they feel they've actually contributed to the development. Then they're more likely to engage in the work, engage in the program, so therefore the outcomes are better.

Images: Laura, Consumer, Lived Experience, speaking to the camera; footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Voiceover: It's surprised me this project and how much they actually want to listen to you. In the past in other projects, you do get tired of expressing your voice and not being heard. In this project, they actually are listening to lived experience, voice and the youth.

Text on screen: Through design we are: creating welcoming, home-like environments; supporting youth mental health in partnership with Grampians Health

Images: timelapse footage of people reviewing life-size floor plans

Images: A screen displays an ‘in partnership with Grampians Health’ logo. A sliding transition screen then displays the Victorian Health Building Authority and Victoria State Government logos and the web address vhba.vic.gov.au

End of transcript.

Co-designing as equals

Co-designing mental health facilities means people with lived and living experience of mental health challenges are equal partners in the design process.

This includes consumers, carers, families, supporters, advocates and allies as well as clinicians, staff and other workers.

For YPARC centres this also includes young people with lived experience of mental health challenges.

Co-design participants are involved in every stage of the design development. From identifying problems, to designing solutions and providing feedback.

'Listening to everybody’

Laura is a young person with lived experience of mental health challenges. She has been applying her experience to co-designing the Ballarat YPARC centre.

She recently joined others with lived experience, along with clinicians and health staff at Big Plans Melbourne.

Big Plans is a unique space that allows people to explore what a finished building would be like before it is built.

By projecting the floorplan in real size into an open space, people can walk through and experience the design.

Laura said the process gives her a voice. ‘I think I’m a youth that was really tired of other people telling me what to do and what would be best for me.’ She was able to walk through and give feedback on issues, challenges and opportunities based on her lived experience.

She adds, ‘I think the whole importance of co-design is that everyone is listening to everybody’.

Co-design amplifies diverse voices. It raises awareness of challenges and priorities of people who use the services.

Doing this ensures facilities are fit for purpose.

Hannah Moroney is a Child and Youth Consultant at Grampians Health. She says co-designing youth mental health facilities is part of a wider reform of Victorian’s mental health and wellbeing system.

‘We don’t just design it and then it’s done. It’s evolving, it’s a new model of care’

Hannah Moroney, Child and Youth Consultant, Grampians Health

Hannah says being able to see tangible results is empowering. ‘We’re able to go back to the young people and say, this is the idea you put on the table, and this has happened.’

She adds, ‘They [young people] feel their engagement is genuine and their ideas matter.’

Learn more about the YPARC expansion and upgrade program by visiting our dedicated program page.

Looking for mental health support?

Mental health helplines can provide support if you or someone you know is experiencing mental ill health:

  • Beyondblue - call 1300 224 636 for telephone support, information and resources for people dealing with depression or anxiety.
  • Lifeline - call 13 11 14 for this free, 24-hour Australia-wide crisis support and suicide prevention service.

Related content

" "

13 June 2023

Co-designing for better mental health

Learn how we’re co-designing infrastructure with, not for, people with lived and living experience of mental health challenges.
Article
White exterior of Statewide Child and Family Centre building

21 June 2023

Statewide Child and Family Centre complete

The centre provides mental health support to children in home-like setting that allows them to stay with family.
News
Thomas Embling Hospital Expansion - artist impression

02 March 2022

Mental Health Royal Commission: one year on

We’ve made significant progress on a number of the infrastructure projects highlighted in the Royal Commission report.
Article
Last updated: 14 August 2023