1. What is your working background?

I studied Speech Pathology at Flinders Medical Centre South Australia. I initially started my career in Catholic Education and moved to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) where I held many positions, including Manager of Enfield CAMHS a state-wide tertiary service for children and young people 5-17 years of age with significant and serious mental health issues and challenging behaviours. 

Initially introducing South Australia to Non-Violent Crisis Prevention Intervention, (NVCPI), in 2005 to now through my design, implementation and evaluation of its use in number of agencies across the state; Management of Actual and Potential Aggression (MAPA, previously known as NVCPI and now known as Safety Intervention) and Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) has now been adopted by the Department for Education, Department for Child Protection, Centacare, Anglicare, Life Without Barriers and many other non-government agencies here in South Australia.
I have a strong commitment to consumer/carer voice and worked with the Australian Infant Child Adolescent Family Mental Health Service to write the National Youth Participation Strategy a strong base as to how the voice of youth is embedded into the development and implementation of mental health programmes for young people nationally.

An opportunity to work with the South Australian Mental Health Commission in 2016 - 2017 provided me with the honour of being part of the consultation and writing of the South Australian Mental Health Strategic Plan endorsed with bi-partisan support in 2018.

Addressing behaviours of concern

Recently I led a multi-disciplinary team within the Department for Education that work with preschools/schools in the Eastern Metro – Mt Barker – Murray Bridge – Mt Gambier region by aligning and integrating services for students and families requiring a tertiary service.  Like the principles of Safety Intervention, Care, Welfare, Safety and Security, my approach to addressing behaviours of concern is based on inclusion and equity using an interagency approach and embedding parent/carer student voice through co-designing services.

2. What is your current role?

Returning to CAMHS in February 2020 and currently leading a number of projects including the development, implementation and evaluation in regard to the ‘roll out’ of MAPA within the organisation. Leading the development of the framework means we can embed sustainability and efficacy in the model.

Consistency of care

Utilising a systems approach, MAPA provides a ‘common’ model of practice as to how many agencies that work with our population can embed consistency and continuity of care.

3. What was your experience with the MAPA 5 Day Programme and what were your key learnings?

My key learning is…there is always more to learn. From a training perspective embedding examples relevant to work places and population group’s staff serve. However, data is powerful in gaining momentum.

A recent example in how data collated through the roll out of MAPA was the goal for the Department for Education to reduce the intensity and duration of incidences within schools across South Australia.

I analysed the issue and partnered with other directorates within education and the broader community to ensure financial support for training was gained and data sets were shared to embed a robust evaluation approach from the beginning.
Working with my Clinical Leads across the state I ensured services had access to certified trainers in MAPA; with a consistent referral process and data collection system to support evaluation and informed decision making into the future.

In partnership with the services and schools I monitored the data and audited the fidelity of the process.  Results indicated 2/3 off 87 services achieved a significant reduction in the intensity / duration of incidences and use of restrictive practice.

Using a quality improvement cycle I led services to better target resources, whilst continuing to embed fidelity of training.
Co-designing marketing material in regard to MAPA, with Lived Experience Consultants parents/carers expressed an interest in the training.  A ‘proof of concept’ has been trialled with learnings to be embedded into future continuous improvement planning process. 

4. How did you find teaching the MAPA programme to other staff members?

Although I have an extensive history of providing training to tertiary mental health services and in schools across the state I recently worked with a team of administration staff who will be working on the frontline of a mental health service.

Initially the team believed a plastic screen around reception was the only approach to address behaviours of concern.
However, through the training and providing opportunities for staff to raise concerns and discuss in depth scenarios their confidence and skills to address behaviours of concern without the use of a physical barrier was agreed to as a team.

Extra modifications were also made due to COVID-19, hence facing the wall and peering into the eyes of drawn faces instead of another participant. 
“We recommend this training to all staff in CAMHS. Di was amazing from presenting the training clearly, taking time to discuss concerns and entertaining us with examples.”
Lynne Whitcher,  Administrations Coordinator State-wide CAMHS