What Matters in Youth Residential Rehabilitation Services

A participatory action research project to understand what matters to young people and staff in Youth Residential Rehabilitation Services (YRRS).

Who is involved

Neami National, current and former YRRS consumers, and Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health

Project status


The What Matters project was initiated to better understand the priorities and expectations of young people living in Neami’s four Youth Residential Rehabilitation Services (YRRS). YRRS are community-based mental health recovery programs, funded by the Victorian Government to address the needs of young people aged 16-25 who have significant mental health concerns. While departmental funding and reporting guidelines determine some output and outcome measures, little is known about what matters from the perspectives of young people and staff.

Adopting a co-design approach, we’re deepening our understanding of the essential components of a recovery focused, trauma-informed, residential model of care from those who matter most. Fundamental to this approach is a steering group comprised of six current and former residents, two YRRS staff, two Orygen researchers, and two Neami researchers. Co-design ensures that youth voices are central to research design, delivery, analysis and dissemination. It shifts typical power relationships, values the range of expertise that people bring and builds capacity for all involved.

The first round of interviews and analysis was completed in 2018, producing a framework for support that is guiding practice.  The project is currently exploring how to best measure what matters to young people in YRRS and includes trialling outcome measures and developing resources to support the model.