An increase in young people living with mental health issues has prompted two Mater Hospital Brisbane nurse practitioners to improve healthcare services and support for struggling Queensland families.
According to Australian Government data, about one in seven children and adolescents aged four to 17 has recently experienced a mental health disorder in Australia.1
Mater Emotional Health Unit Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Anya Snyder and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Chris Leary treat patients as young as eight years old with depression, anxiety, bipolar, personality disorders, schizophrenia, substance use, and other major mental health conditions.
With more than 10 years’ experience as a nurse practitioner, Ms Snyder has an integrative and client-centred approach to improving mental health outcomes for individuals and families with a special interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), psychopharmacology, perinatal mental health, child and adolescent mental health, gender diversity, substance misuse and eating disorders.
Ms Snyder said mental health issues among young children were an “underserved area”.
“We know that early attachments and experiences have such an impact in children on the development of emotional health. Early intervention is really where our resources need to be,” she said.
“A lot of mental health issues can be biologically driven. Genetic vulnerabilities, changes in hormones and sleep patterns all impact one’s wellbeing and we see this is reflected in the prevalence of mental health challenges in adolescence and in the perinatal period.
“We also see how social circumstances, such as feeling supported, connected, and having a sense of purpose, promote emotional wellness during vulnerable times.”
Mr Leary has more than 30 years’ experience working with patients and their families with a wide range of mental health issues. He has worked in several highly specialised mental health areas within the private and public sector.
“A large majority of people with mental concerns did not access treatment primarily due to the inability to access sustainable and appropriate mental health services. And early intervention leads to better outcomes for the patient and their families.
“Patients do not require a referral to see a nurse practitioner, and Medicare rebates are also available,” he said.
“Mental health nurse practitioners can help to improve accessibility and affordability of high-quality mental health care. Mental health nurse practitioners assist in simplifying and navigating the complexities of the current mental health system.
“Through advanced psychiatric assessment, diagnosis, medication and psychological strategies and detailed psychoeducation. The patient and family obtain comprehensive ongoing management and support and feel empowered in their recovery.”
The Emotional Health Unit at Mater Hospital Brisbane can be contacted on 3163 6102.
1Health Direct – Kids and mental health
Pictured: Mater Emotional Health Unit Nurse Practitioners Chris Leary and Anya Snyder.