Ensuring everyone has access to high quality mental health care, no matter what their income, was one of my main motivations when I first put my hand up to represent our community.
Thirteen years ago, it was very clear to me that the Hawkesbury was too often an after-thought when it came to services, including mental health care.
So I was delighted last month to join the Assistant Minister for Health and Suicide Prevention, Emma McBride, to open the new Head to Health in Richmond, a dedicated, government-funded mental health service for adults.
This is a permanent service, in a deceptively long building you access from the St Andrews Church hall carpark, which offers free, ongoing mental health support for anyone 18 years and older.
Finally, Hawkesbury people can go somewhere close to home to see help. And it’s a lovely, warm, welcoming place to be.
Head to Health provides access to mental health information, services, and support for free, without the need for an appointment or referral. You can simply walk in and ask for help.
What’s even better is that the service is available 6 days a week – including all day Saturday and on Thursday evenings.
Mental wellbeing is as important as physical wellbeing. No one should put off an appointment to talk about their mental health because they are worried about the cost, or they can’t take the time off work to get there.
This service replaces the temporary Head to Health pop-up clinic initially established in Richmond in 2021 in response to the COVID pandemic, and the data shows it will help take pressure off GPs and emergency departments.
I’m so proud to be part of an Albanese Labor Government that is improving access to free mental health services in the Hawkesbury.