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Youth Step Up Step Down Service

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has partnered with Aftercare to establish Queensland’s first Youth Step Up Step Down Service (Youth SUSD).

Who will use the facility?

The Youth Step Up Step Down Service is a community bed based mental health facility for young people aged between 16 and 21, providing support for mental health and wellbeing. It is designed for young people who may be experiencing periods of distress which may be linked to family breakup, trauma and mental health issues (e.g. depression and anxiety).  

It is a six-bedroom short stay residential facility that provides a ‘home-like’ residential environment and more importantly, helps to maintain contact and support from a young person’s usual family/carers.

The average length of stay will be between 14 and 28 days. It will be fully supervised, with staff rostered 24 hours. per day.

What is Step Up Step Down Care?

Based on a successful model from Victoria, the facility will provide a step up step down model for young people requiring sub-acute mental health services. Step up care is required when a young person requires more support than can be provided at home or in their current residential setting. It is used to help prevent hospital admissions and maintain an environment which is similar to home and relies on intense professional community support. This model helps the individual in their recovery but also maintains their connection to their community supports with their usual care providers.   

Stepping down is used to assist an early and seamless transition for young people when re-entering the community following an admission to hospital.  The service provides an increased level of support in the transitional period when a young person may be vulnerable to further stress.

Who will be eligible?

Young people who:

  • are aged between 16 and 21
  • without early intervention, would likely need care in a hospital setting; or
  • are in a hospital setting and who can be discharged to this facility for additional support prior to transitioning back into their usual community supports.

Who will run the facility?

Aftercare has been awarded a three year contract to deliver services at the Youth Step Up Step Down facility in partnership with the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. Aftercare has provided mental health support services for over 110 years, and provides a wide range of community, residential and integrated mental health services. Aftercare is a leading provider of 24-hour youth residential services, including in the Cairns region.

Consultation with community

The Health Service consulted residents and businesses with properties near the site prior to the facility being built and involved young people and other community members in the planning of this important new service.

Questions and Answers

The Youth Step Up Step Down service is a community-based residential care facility for young people aged between 16 and 21 who require additional support for mental health issues and would otherwise be at home. The Youth SUSD facility will provide a safe and secure place of residence for young people requiring a sub-acute level of care. It will be a substance-free, home-like environment, to support a young person in their recovery.
Architecturally designed and purpose-built, the Youth SUSD is a landscaped, fenced, single-storey dwelling and looks much like any other home. It can accommodate up to six young people at any given time. The design is in keeping with the model of care being provided, with minimal impact on the surrounding area.
The Youth SUSD model provides for young people aged between 16 and 21 who require additional support for mental health issues. It is designed for young people who would otherwise be at home and may be working through issues such as bullying, family breakup, trauma, mental ill health and abuse.
The average length of stay will be between 14 and 28 days.
The YPARC model provides for people aged between 16 and 21 who require additional support for mental health issues. It is designed for people who would otherwise be at home and may be working through issues such as bullying, family breakup, trauma, mental ill health and abuse.
The average length of stay will be between 14 and 28 days.
It needs to be easily accessible by the community and part of the community – a critical step in the recovery process. This type of service can only be in a suburban area. The site is close to other support services including Community Health and the Cairns Hospital.
All Queensland Government properties are subject to a Code of Conduct which prohibits the use of alcohol and drugs, including tobacco. Staff will be present on site at all times. Queensland Government staff, like residents, will not tolerate behaviours that jeopardise the safety of the young person themselves, staff or the community. The Youth SUSD is not a drug rehabilitation facility.  It is not a high security ward, a child safety residential service nor a young offender service. Young people who experience mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators.
The traffic, noise and light impacts will be minimal. Services and activities will mostly occur in normal daylight hours. Any additional lighting will be consistent with existing lighting in the area.
Last updated: 3 May 2019