Australian experts have set up Australia’s first psychology outreach clinic for high school students.

A partnership between The University of Queensland and Marsden State High School has led to the formation of a ‘satellite clinic’ available to students that would offer psychological services to students with mental health difficulties.

“Adolescence is a period of great change and can entail a range of physical, social, emotional and academic challenges,” Professor Virginia Slaughter, Head of the UQ School of Psychology, said.

“It is also the most common age for the start of many mental health problems.

“Sometimes students with mental health issues, such as those needing a Mental Health Care Plan, need more specialised help than their school can provide.

“The clinic at Marsden State High School was set up to meet the mental health needs of students waiting for the actioning of Mental Health Care Plans.”

Treatment at the weekly clinic is provided by a provisional psychologist undertaking advanced postgraduate study in psychology at UQ.

To attend the clinic, students must have a referral for psychological treatment for a mental health difficulty from their General Practitioner or treating Medical Doctor.

The provisional psychologist provides appropriate individualised services to the student, reporting to the student’s GP upon completion of the sessions.

There is no fee for the service, nor is Medicare billed.

Andrew Peach, Executive Principal of Marsden State High School, said the outreach clinic was instrumental in supporting the mental health of students.

“As a school we are aware that many students with a Mental Health Care Plan can be on a waiting list for six months or longer to see a psychologist,” he said.

“The waiting times often have a negative impact on students’ learning and wellbeing.

“By attending the UQ Psychology Clinic at Marsden State High School, students will be able to have their mental health care plans actioned in a shorter timeframe.

“The clinic will also assist those families who cannot afford services or who find it difficult to make outside school hour appointments due to work commitments.

“Opportunities like this are another way we can work with our partners to support students and families.”