Street Psych

Youth Projects Jul 2012 - Jun 2013

Partner profile

Youth Projects Limited provides health, outreach, community, employment, education and training services to individuals experiencing disadvantage, unemployment, homelessness or drug and alcohol related issues.

The LUCRF Super Community Program supported Youth Projects by funding the expansion of their psychiatric care offering to include a Street Psych program. Youth Projects uses an innovative outreach model that puts medical and support staff directly onto Melbourne’s CBD where they can directly impact people sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness.

Our Community Program funded a registered psychiatric nurse to regularly visit shelters and ‘hotspots’ where people experiencing homelessness would come together. She consulted with individuals about their health and wellbeing and provided them with early and appropriate treatment. The nurse saw individuals with health concerns including mental illness, wound-care, substance misuse, high-risk behaviours and a need for medications where appropriate.

Jeff’s story

Jeff, an undiagnosed diabetic was sleeping rough. Staff at a crisis shelter where he was staying had not realised he was unwell and in desperate need of insulin. The registered psychiatric nurse (funded by our Community Program) visited Jeff and was able to diagnose his condition, provide immediate intervention and then refer him to a clinic for an insulin prescription. Jeff was also referred to Youth Projects’ free primary healthcare fixed site, The Living Room, for podiatry care and diabetes education.

Five years on and Night Outreach shines

After the success of the Street Psych pilot project, Youth Projects went on to develop a Night Outreach nursing team in 2013.

The Youth Projects ‘After-Hours Primary Care Team’ is comprised of two highly experienced Registered Nurses who deliver healthcare out of backpacks on the streets of Melbourne’s CBD.

The nurses worked to grow trust and a positive reputation on the streets during the pilot, and ultimately developed this high-risk night program. With ongoing specialist training, these nurses provide a broader suite of healthcare late at night when crises escalate and other services are closed. In 2016 a midwife was added to the team to address women’s health needs on Melbourne’s streets.

From 936 episodes of care in 2014, to nearly 3,000 in late 2017, the night nursing program owes its very existence to the original funding that allowed the trial of Street Psych to occur. The team continue to provide early intervention mental-health care and have extended this care to treat chronic illness, wound-care and other health problems that present on each shift.

The Community Program also supported Youth Projects’ successful ‘Living Room’ project in 2010.

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