Numerous studies across international settings have highlighted a need to improve the appropriateness and continuity of services for young people experiencing mental ill health. This paper examines key features of a sub-acute youth mental health residential service model, Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (Y-PARC) service. Y-PARC provides up to 4 weeks care to 16 to 25 year-olds at risk of hospitalisation and to those transitioning out of hospital inpatient units. The research was conducted at one of three Y-PARCs located in Victoria, Australia.
This paper presents findings from analysis of two data sources collected during evaluation of a Y-PARC service in 2015–17. Routinely collected administrative data of Y-PARC residents (
n= 288) were analysed and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 participants: a) former residents ( n= 14); b) family members of group a) ( n= 5); key stakeholders ( n= 9); and, Y-PARC staff ( n= 10 respondents in 3 group interviews). Analysis of the qualitative data was thematic and structured by the interview guide, which covered the key service aims. Results
Consistent with the aims of the service, respondents described practice at Y-PARC that aligns with recovery-oriented care. Key features emphasised were: a safe and welcoming environment for residents and families; provision of person-centred care; promotion of autonomy and self-help; informal interactions with staff allowing for formation of naturalistic relationships; time spent with other young people with similar experiences; and, assurance upon exit that the ‘door is always open.’
High levels of satisfaction were reported. Outcomes described included: improved resilience; better understanding of mental health; the importance of seeking help; and, stronger connections to therapeutic services. Longer and multiple stays were associated with progressive and sustained change. Family members and stakeholders widely reported that the service fills a gap between community services and acute inpatient mental health hospital wards.
Some challenging areas of practice identified included: integration of evidence-based psychosocial interventions; provision of care within a model that blends clinical and psychosocial support services; and, negotiation of family-inclusive practice.
The Y-PARC service model shows promise with young people experiencing mental ill health, particularly in improving the range and availability of options across a spectrum of need.