School Health Services are delivered in all public secondary schools and colleges across Western Australia by Community Health Nurses, who are employed by WA Country Health Services or Child and Adolescent Health Service (in metropolitan Perth). Clinical Nurses working with secondary schools are usually based at one school, but may also provide services at other schools.
Clinical Nurses in the Community are well skilled in assessing adolescent health needs, and frequently engage in health counselling with young people to identify issues, risks and protective factors; provide advice; provide brief intervention; assist with access and referral to other services, and provide follow up care. A recent survey of Clinical Nurses in WA secondary schools indicated that students present with a wide range of health issues. The ten most common issues are; anxiety, stress, depression or low mood, relationship problems, sexual health, sexuality, reproductive health, nutrition, lifestyle or health behaviours, and drug misuse. It is also common for Community Health Nurses to encounter young people who self-harm, who have considered or attempted suicide, and those seeking help for sexual assault and/or domestic violence. The school health centre is a place where adolescents can drop in or make appointments to discuss health and wellbeing issues. Young people may independently seek assistance from a Community Health Nurse, but can be referred by parents, teachers or student services teams.