Helping young people get better

Helping young people get better

The Alfred’s director of the Child and Youth Mental Health Service, Paul Denbourough arrives at work each day with one simple mantra. 

Young people get better. 

“People always ask me if my job is really stressful because obviously you see some sad, difficult stories, but my view is that it’s a very optimistic place to work because I really do believe, that when given the right support, young people get better,” he said 

During his time at Alfred Health, Paul has overseen what was initially a small service, grow into a large-scale support service. 

“When I first started here it was very much a boutique service, but in those 20 years we’ve grown dramatically,” he said. 

“We now operate three headspace centres, have an early psychosis program, and have extended the age range for support up to 25,” he said. 

While he’s proud of that growth, Paul says the achievement he’s most proud of is overseeing the implementation of a model of care that includes each patient’s family. 

“For younger teenagers in particular, they’re often quite isolated and need the support of other people to get better,” he said. 

“In the past the patient would come to the expert, get diagnosed, assessed and treated. That was the model. Now we work with families and young people together to work out what’s going to be best for them.  

“There’s lots of different ways to solve these problems, and the wisdom, knowledge and culture of the family is integral to finding that solution.” 

“Ultimately, what we’ve been able to prove time and time again during my time here is that we really do help these young people get better.” 

James pedalling his way forward for The Alfred Leading the way with innovative surgery