Using Maslow's hierarchy of needs to improve mental health service provision to high-risk youth : evaluation of the Peel Youth Counsellor Program

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


This research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of a youth counselling program with an innovative service delivery model influenced by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The Peel Youth Counsellor Program (PYCP) is a promotion, prevention and early intervention program conceived as a result of an identified local need for a specialised program to work alongside mainstream mental health to provide services to youth aged 15 to 25 years. The PYCP began operation in January 2001 and is administered by the Peel Community Mental Health Service although is located fulltime in a community youth centre. The central service provision framework and understanding of youth engagement is based on youth friendly mental health services and Maslow's research into human motivation and its application to service delivery. The research outlines a comprehensive evaluation that was conducted using Austin's (1982) 'Objectives-Orientated' approach that uses a six step process to guide the implementation and analysis of what the program has achieved. The results suggest that the use of a community based youth counselling program adjunct to mainstream mental health, improves opportunities for promotion and prevention, and early (prodrama) intervention with a range of youth health and mental health issues, especially depression and suicide. With this information it is hoped that consideration will be made about current practice as well as the future development of mainstream mental health both giving priority to "youth" as an important entity in service provision.

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