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Team celebrates a decade of helping NQ young people

Published:  15 September 2023

North Queensland’s first specialised adolescent mental health service is celebrating 10 years of improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people and their carers.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s Josephine Sailor Adolescent Inpatient Unit and Day Service (AIUDS) opened in 2013 and was the first-time young people in north Queensland could access an overnight inpatient and day-therapy service closer to home.

Townsville Hospital and Health Board member Donald Whaleboat said he was proud of the service’s commitment to improving the lives of young people, aged 12 to 18, who required complex mental health care.   

“Each day the multi-disciplinary team positively influence the lives of some of our region’s most vulnerable young people,” he said. 

“You simply cannot measure the impact of the team’s work over a decade.”

AIUDS clinical lead Kimberley Trainor said the multi-skilled clinical team provided adolescents and their support networks educational and therapeutic support to overcome distressing and challenging periods in their lives.

“Our team delivers gold-standard and evidence-based care every day to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people by focusing on person-centered recovery goals,” she said.

“In the past decade the service has supported more the 2000 young people to give them the social and emotional tools they need to create positive change in their lives.”

Shortly after opening in 2013, the service was named in honour of the late Josephine Sailor.

Ms Sailor dedicated much of her life advocating for improvement of mental health services and drove positive change for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in north Queensland.

Executive Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Amanda Cooms said Aunty Josephine would always be an inspirational leader for our community.

“She was a leader who modelled values of inclusiveness and collaboration to ensure equitable and safe access to health services for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“Aunty Jo’s family are extremely proud that her legacy lives on through the Josephine Sailor Adolescent Inpatient Unit and Day Service perpetually acknowledging the significant impact her actions had on mental health services and recognition of the social and economic rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

“Her legacy will remain an integral part of the foundation for delivering equal and equitable access to healthcare as well as the benchmark for facilitating change.”

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