Triple P International has made a submission to an official Queensland Inquiry into the opportunities to improve mental health outcomes for Queenslanders, calling for more upskilling and diversification of the mental health workforce, along with continued access to proven early intervention programs to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Triple P International Country Director, Carol Markie-Dadds, said that half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14 years, and while most children and young people can be successfully treated, fewer than one quarter of affected children see a mental health professional.
“Parents and caregivers are the most influential people in a child’s life. With the right mix of early intervention and treatment programs, parents can learn how to recognise and address the early signs of children’s mental health concerns before they become severe and longstanding issues – relieving the load on the broader mental health care system,” Ms Markie-Dadds said.
Triple P is calling on the inquiry to recommend:
- Building on the success of the existing proven Triple P family support program, with increased delivery across community child and adolescent health and mental health practitioners, social services, and educators and welfare officers/counsellors in schools and early childhood education and care settings.
- Including evidence-based programs such as Triple P as part of a stepped-care approach for health, education, and child protection services, especially in areas where there are not enough services to respond to growing demand, and the threshold for accessing mental health support is high.
“The case is strong for upskilling the mental health workforce as they are ideally placed to help parents respond effectively to the early signs of childhood mental ill health while also optimising children’s social, emotional, and behavioural development,” she said.
Ms Markie-Dadds added that putting more mental health practitioners in schools and including consulting directly with parents as part of their role would help both professional development and parent services.
“Since mid-2015, the Queensland Government, has engaged Triple P to provide professional development in Triple P interventions for Queensland practitioners as well as deliver online programs direct to parents.
“Triple P acknowledges and commends the Queensland Government for its significant and ongoing investment in Triple P’s evidence-based parenting support programs, however, more could be achieved for Queensland children with increased penetration of evidence-based parenting programs like Triple P across the health and education portfolios," Ms Markie-Dadds said.