To give informed consent, a student must have sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable them to fully understand what the referral and counselling service involves, what it is for, and why it is recommended to them as an individual. If the principal or nominated school support person decides the student is not a mature minor for the purpose of these decisions, their parents or carers will be informed and their consent will be sought prior to commencing any counselling.
The student or their parent/carer should be informed of the following before consent is sought:
- The appointment is an opportunity for the student to talk about their concerns with a clinician, in a safe and confidential setting.
- The appointment is provided by a clinician who will ask questions about the student’s presenting issues and provide appropriate support. This appointment will take approximately 45 minutes, with some time at the end to provide feedback to the referrer and book in further appointments as appropriate.
The first appointment will involve:
- the clinician ensuring that the student understands and consents to the referral to headspace and consents to receiving counselling services. The clinician will also ensure that the student understands the limitations to confidentiality and how information may be provided to others under specific circumstances;
- undertaking an assessment of need including a risk assessment;
- managing and responding to any issues of risk;
- making a clinical decision about the best way to support the young person (whether through this initiative or other avenues);
- booking the young person into another appointment dependent on need and availability
- offering feedback, strategies and tools to the student (and with the student’s permission, to the school and parents/carers to help support the student).
Further appointments will involve:
- identifying the issue/s of concern to be addressed;
- providing counselling and support to the student;
- offering feedback, strategies and tools to the student (and with the student’s permission to the school and parents to help support the student);
- making a clinical decision in collaboration with the student about further
Consent may be withdrawn at any time by the student or parent/carer. This may occur because the student no longer feels that they require counselling services or that they no longer wish to receive counselling support.
See the consent form for further details.
What happens where consent is not provided by a parent/carer?
Parents/carers should be informed about the counselling services on offer through school communications e.g. school newsletter. Information about the initiative should also be included on the school’s website where possible.
If a parent/carer informs the school that they do not want their child to access the counselling services, the school contact/principal should consider whether the student is a mature minor for the purposes of receiving counselling. They should also consider the reasons the parent/carer has given. The Legal Division should be contacted for further advice.