Home, Education/Employment, Activities, Drugs and alcohol, Sexuality, Suicide and depression assessment tool (HEADSS)
The HEADSS approach to obtaining a psychosocial assessment with young people has proven highly valuable and is used in primary care and hospital settings throughout Australia. The focus is on normalising the assessment process and assuring young people that don’t have to answer questions they are not comfortable with. The process allows an opportunity for health practitioners to establish trust, confidence and rapport with young people although it is important to discuss the limits of confidentiality if someone is at risk of self-harm or suicidal ideation. The assessment covers, Home, Education and employment, Activities, Drugs and alcohol, Sexuality Suicide Risk/depression. Although there are some variations with Eating and Safety also included in the assessment questions. (HEEADSSS)
The headspace psychosocial assessment
The headspace psychosocial assessment is an adaptation of the HEADSS to suit the Australian context, with an extension to 10 domains as well as a subsection on strengths, difficulties, and goals. It involves screening and probing questions as required. However, it has not yet been adapted or validated for use specifically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. Special care needs to be taken by practitioners if applying this tool with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
However, in 2012–13, the ‘Y Health – Staying Deadly’ research project, funded by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, developed a culturally valid and culturally specific version of the HEADSS assessment – the Youth Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEW) assessment. It takes a strengths-based approach which focuses on the strengths and capabilities of individual young people and their community; advocates for a positive sense of cultural identity; and acknowledges that there is potential for change, growth, and success. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth SEW assessment is a modified HEADSS version with a question guide to support the latter.
The Youth SEW assessment is recommended to be conducted as part of an annual health check under Item 715 of the Medicare health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The ‘Y Health – Staying Deadly’ project also developed a template for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Health Check, which can be adapted for use by individual services. The Adolescent Health GP Resource Kit produced by the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health and Transcultural Mental Health Centre also provides templates for a health check for young people.
Nori A, Piovesan R, O’Connor J, Graham A, Shah S, Rigney D, McMillan M, BrownN. ‘Y Health – Staying Deadly’: an Aboriginal youth focussed translational action research project. ANU (Canberra) 2013
Parker, A Hetrick, S., & Purcell, R, 2010, Psychosocial assessment of young people: Refining and evaluating a youth friendly assessment interview. Australian Family Physcian , Vol 39, No 8