Building Bridges in Youth Health

In a drive to strengthen the collaboration between Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo – Youth Justice Residence (Te Puna Wai) and youth health centre, Te Tahi Youth, team members gathered recently to foster relationships and improve healthcare outcomes for young residents. The meeting, attended by 15 professionals including Leanne Doake, Team Leader Residential Youth Health Service, and Ellie McDougall, General Practitioner at Te Tahi Youth, focused on creating a more integrated healthcare system for vulnerable youth. 

Ellie McDougall, who conducts two weekly clinics at Te Puna Wai, has been a pivotal link between the two organisations, facilitating better coordination of care. However, despite ongoing collaborations, many staff members had never met face-to-face. Fiona Kay, General Manager at Te Tahi Youth, championed the idea of an in-person meeting to bridge this gap. The event featured informal discussions, allowing team members to network, share challenges, and discuss effective practices. 

One of the primary topics discussed was how both organisations could enhance each other’s practices through mutual support.  

“Some Te Tahi Youth staff haven’t been out to our site yet, so they are keen to look around and see how we can enhance each other’s practice,” Leanne said. 

A significant focus was also placed on the continuity of care for Te Puna Wai’s residents, who often have complex and traumatic health issues.  

“ Te Tahi Youth are happy to accept GP enrolments and referrals for our rangitahi on discharge from Te Puna Wai” Leanne said. 

Te Tahi Youth provides a range of specialised services for individuals aged 10-25, including support for those who are gender questioning, dealing with substance abuse, employment challenges, accommodation needs, and mental health issues. Importantly, services at Te Tahi Youth are free, removing financial barriers and ensuring accessible care for the youth. 

By the meeting’s end, there was a collective commitment to overcoming these challenges and forging stronger ties. The collaboration is seen as vital to improving health outcomes for the youth at Te Puna Wai, ensuring they have ongoing access to consistent and supportive healthcare both during their stay at the facility and after their discharge.