Latest Journal

Click here for a copy of our latest Journal Edition. Volume 10, Issue 1, 2019.



Join our free e-list here to receive resources, primarily the CHW School-Link Journal, and from time to time other relevant material concerning the mental health of children and adolescents with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Guidelines on Pathways to Care

A guide for parents and carers: Guidelines on Pathways to Care for children and adolescents with intellectual disability and challenging behaviour and/or mental health problems.  

Quick Link to the MOU

Devlopmental Psychiatry Clinic Evaluation

The Developmental Psychiatry Clinic has been evaluated by the Centre for Disability Studies. Access the document by clicking on the image below.

MOU between ADHC and Health
Excutive Summary

View the executive summary of the "Leading the Way in Mental Health and Intellectual Disability" needs analysis report here.


A-Z Glossary

Adolescent: Any person between 12-18 years of age, enrolled in a NSW school unless otherwise stated. 

Local Health Districts: Eight local health districts cover the Sydney metropolitan region, and seven cover rural and regional NSW.In addition, two specialist networks focus on children's and paediatric services, and ​justice health and forensic mental health.A third network operates across the public health services provided by St Vincent's Hospital, the Sacred Heart Hospice at Darlinghurst and St Joseph’s at Auburn. 

CAMHS Service: Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services are specialist mental health services for children and adolescents up to the age of 18yrs and their families.

Child: Any person under 16 years of age, enrolled in a NSW school unless otherwise stated.

Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW): The Children's Hospital at Westmead is a stand-alone service dedicated to paediatrics. The hospital provides community medical care and paediatric emergency as well as tertiary level paediatric services. The hospital is diverse which extends across all parts of the hospital at every professional level with staff bringing an enormous breadth of experience and expertise that is dedicated and focussed on the care and welfare of children.

Department of Education (DoE): The NSW Department of Education and Training delivers high quality, internationally competitive public education and training from early childhood (pre-school), through to the compulsory years of schooling (Kindergarten to Year 10), and senior secondary education leading to the award of the NSW Higher School Certificate (in Years 11 and 12).

Developmental Delay: Developmental delay is a term used when a child is developing skills more slowly than other children in the same age group. When more than one area of development is affected, the term Global Development Delay may be used.

Disability: The effects of mental illness which severely impair functioning in different aspects of a person’s life such as the ability to live independently, maintain friendships, maintain employment and to participate meaningfully in the community.

Early Intervention: Early intervention refers to interventions targeting people displaying the early signs and symptoms of a mental health problem or mental disorder and people developing or experiencing a first episode of mental disorder. These interventions occur shortly after a need has arisen, aiming to reduce distress, shorten the episode of care and minimise the level of intervention required. These include indicated prevention interventions.

Intellectual Disability: is defined by an IQ 2 standard deviations below the mean, plus deficits in adaptive functioning with an onset under 18 years of age. The Diagnostic Manual of Intellectual Disability (DM-ID) defines intellectual disability as follows: "Intellectual Disability is a condition that affects a person’s ability to learn and function independently. The three features of Intellectual Disability are; 1. Sub-average general intellectual functioning, 2. Significant limitations in adaptive functioning, and 3. Onset before the age of 18 years" - Fletcher et al, 2007

Interagency Collaboration: Interagency collaboration involves complementary organisations, in the same or different sectors, that commit to a common goal, or set of goals, and jointly make decisions about the way to achieve these goals.

A Mental Disorder: A Mental Disorder is a diagnosable illness that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities. Mental disorders are of different types and degrees of severity and some of the major mental disorders perceived to be public health issues are depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, psychosis and dementia. Mental disorders are diagnosed by standardised criteria, such as those contained in the Diagnositic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994. The term mental illness is synonymous with mental disorder. The fifth edition ("DSM-V") is currently in consultation, planning and preparation, due for publication in May 2012.

Mental Health Problems: A mental health problem also interferes with a person's cognitive, emotional or social abilities, but to a lesser extent than a mental disorder. Mental Health problems are more common mental complaints and include the mental ill health temporarily experienced as a reaction to life stressors. Mental health problems are less severe and of shorter duration than mental disorders, but may develop into mental disorders. The distinction between mental health problems and mental disorders is not well defined and is made on the basis of the severity and duration of the symptoms". (Mental Health Council of Australia, 2008)

Mental Illness: A clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities. The diagnosis of mental illness is generally made according to the classification systems of the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Pathways to Care: The route taken to refer clients to an external department for further treatment and intervention.

MH-CYP: MH-CYP is the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) policy, service development and service planning unit of the Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office (MHDAO), NSW Health.

Prevalence: The proportion of individuals in a particular population who have a mental illness during a specific period of time.

Promotion and Prevention Programs: Programs utilised to encourage the promotion and prevention of mental health problems and disorders in children and adolescents.

Respite: Services for carers enabling them to ‘take time out’ from the role of direct carer. Respite may occur in the home and outside the home. Services include centre-based respite, recreational respite, cottage-style residential respite and one-on-one respite.

School Counsellor: School counsellors are in NSW public schools are experienced teachers with postgraduate training in psychology and school counselling. School counsellors strengthen the student welfare provision of schools by promoting student welfare policy and programs and by providing counselling and psychological assessment of students with specific needs. School counsellors:-assess students' needs using psychological and educational tests, rating scales and observation, and report the results to parents and teachers - counsel students individually and in groups - participate in the work of student welfare committees - provide advice to review committees concerning the education of students with special needs - refer students or their families to other agencies concerned with the health and welfare of students and liaise with such agencies as required - work with groups of parents regarding the welfare needs of their children - report and make recommendations when students have received a long suspension from school - respond, as part of a team, to schools experiencing serious incidents.

School for Specific Purposes: Schools for Specific Purposes or SSPs are NSW government schools for students from pre-school to Year 12 who require intensive levels of support. These schools provide a specialised educational setting in which learning support plans are collaboratively developed, implemented and monitored. Classes in SSPs are similar to the range of classes in regular schools. They include a range of support services depending on the needs of the student.

School-Link: An initiative launched by the NSW government to improve the mental health of children and adolescents in NSW with collaboration between NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education and Training.