Young people have higher rates of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) than the general population. Research has shown that there is a clear link between emotional distress, depression, substance abuse and sexual risk taking behaviours in young people. ‘headspace’ is a youth mental health early intervention service operating in more than 55 locations around Australia. This setting is ideal for accessing troubled young people who are at risk of STIs and are unlikely to attend mainstream general practice services. In 2013, a partnership was formed between headspace National Office and Hunter New England Local Health District to develop a clear clinical pathway to ensure at-risk headspace clients received sexual health assessments, advice, appropriate treatment and referral as indicated. This article describes the implementation of the pathway at the national level and a control trial to measure its efficacy. Future work will involve providing sustainable sexual health training for headspace general practitioner and allied health professionals to supplement the roll-out of the pathway in headspace centres across Australia. Support will also be provided in adapting headspace environments to encourage service utilization by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and intersex young people.
Edwards, C., Britton, M., Jenkins, L., RICKWOOD, D., & Gillham, K. (2014). Including a client sexual health pathway in a national youth mental health early intervention service - project rationale and implementation strategy. Health Education Research, 29(2), 354-359. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyt154