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by Kat Rowe | February 15, 2024

An innovative model of care 

We understand the toll that traumatic events can take on your wellbeing, which is why headspace’s Tern Program is a fantastic model of care for those experiencing symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. 

At Stride Mental Health, and in collaboration with headspace Townsville and Central Queensland University (CQU), we are excited to introduce you to the Tern Program, tailored to address the unique challenges faced by individuals.

In this blog, we’ll dive into how this innovative model of care is reshaping the landscape of trauma treatment, offering hope and healing where it’s needed most. 

A solution for youth with a history of complex trauma

We know that young people who experience complex trauma are vulnerable to significant impairments in their biological, psychological, and social health outcomes.

Specifically, complex trauma survivors can develop severe and complex mental health presentations that existing Australian mental health funding models cannot wholly treat. The Tern model offers a solution.

PhD candidate and Clinical Psychologist, Braden Dunn will be presenting his learnings from the Tern Programme at the upcoming 2024 Child and Adolescent Mental Health conference.

Tern is funded by the Youth Enhanced project, which was implemented to create services for severe/complex youth mental health issues. Funding for the Tern program at headspace Townsville is made possible by the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network.

The Tern Programme has recently undergone a 24-month clinical feasibility trial and is a new solution for youth with histories of complex trauma.

What can I expect to learn from the Tern Program?

Young people who enter the program will experience the Tern model of Psychotherapy and receive case management (as their circumstances require). 

They will learn about complex trauma, and its impacts on the mind and body, and receive tailored treatment to manage their symptoms. 

They are supported to process and move on from memories of childhood trauma.

Participants in the Tern program receive an intervention unique to them, drawn from selected evidence-based interventions for complex posttraumatic stress. 

This may include referrals to other healthcare providers (such as psychiatry) or other agencies (such as housing, financial, or occupational support programs). 

Young people involved in the program receive around 40 treatment sessions or 12 months of equivalent treatment.

Affordable access to vital services

This program’s potential to increase access to a vital service for young people that would otherwise be unaffordable is promising. 

The Tern research project has only been possible through the generous contributions of several agencies. In addition to CQU, Charles Darwin University and Flinders University have both also provided resources, expertise, and consultation for which this project could not have been successful.

For now, the Tern Program is offered through headspace Townsville. We hope this project is the first stride in achieving greater recognition and implementation of publicly funded youth trauma services.

If you are interested in learning more about the Tern Program or are interested in accessing the program yourself please contact our team today. 

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