Mental Health

Their minds are on ours

Wanslea’s Mental Health programs seek to enhance the mental health of children and young people, especially those who may be more vulnerable to the development of a mental health issue.

Wanslea staff offer opportunities for children, young people and their families who need extra support to improve their mental health and wellbeing including:

*  Mental health promotion
*  Informal counselling
*  Peer support groups
*  Pro social activities
*  Community awareness and stigma prevention

Wanslea offers 3 programs to children and young people from 0-18 years within the Perth Metropolitan area. They are:

COPMI   Children Of Parents with Mental Illness
Cusp      For those children and young people needing additional support for their mental health
SKIPS    Supporting Kids In Primary School

Wanslea has a commitment to peer support principles and employs young people who share their experience of mental health challenges or having a parent with a mental illness. These young people take on roles as peer leaders, educators and mentors.

Contact us for more information or call us during business hours on (08) 9245 2441.

The Mental Health Commission of Western Australia and the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services fund Wanslea’s Mental Health programs.

The Common Approach

The Common Approach (formerly the Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support- CAARS) is a practical and flexible way of improving the wellbeing of children, youth and families. The Common Approach seeks to increase the capacity of practitioners in first contact with children and families to identify both the strengths and needs, build on strengths to help families progress their own goals, and link families with the supports they need before problems escalate into crises.

It utilises 6 domains to enable children, parents and practitioners to assist in identifying and verifying early signs that a child or family needs support. The model is best represented by the following image:

A formative evaluation of The Common Approach was conducted in 2011-12, and was independently evaluated by the Social Policy Research Centre (University of NSW). This evaluation detailed many positive outcomes for families as a result of practitioners' use of The Common Approach, including:

*   gaining a clearer understanding of how to better meet the needs of children;
*   gaining more positive feelings of wellbeing through the identification of family strengths;
*   connecting or re-engaging with a wide range of community supports and services;
*   child re-engagement with education services;
*   improved family functioning and wellbeing; and
*   feeling empowered to make positive changes in their lives.


The guiding principles of Wanslea Mental Health programs underpin its approach to working with children, young people and their families. These are:

Child focused - Children are unique and require their individual needs, goals and hopes to be foremost in the making of assessments and taking action, including and most importantly when the direct recipient of the service is a parent or other significant adult.

Family centred - Families are partnered with to identify, assess and address the developmental needs of its children. The family is defined by each member of the family and is not restricted to family of origin.

Partnership - A strong working relationship between program staff and families fosters common, agreed goals. This relationship is the foundation from which people achieve better control of their lives.

Strengths based - Even in the most challenging of circumstances, individuals and families possess experience, knowledge and resources that can form part of the solution to their current situation. Being strengths based requires a realistic and honest assessment of risk and vulnerability also.

Holistic - Programs respond to the diversity of culture in the population and work to meet the needs of individuals.
Recovery oriented- Recovery from mental illness or situations that challenge people’s mental health is possible. These circumstances impact upon not just the individual who experienced the emotional disturbance but every member of their family, most particularly children.


*   to increase children’s sense of connection, safety and support
*   to enhance children’s mental health and reduce their vulnerability to mental illness
*   to increase children’s sense of belief in themselves and their capacity
*   to increase families’ understanding of mental health and the impact of mental health issues
*   to enhance parents’ ability to understand and respond to the emotional health and wellbeing needs of their children