A new headspace service is to be established in the Hawkesbury to provide additional mental health support for young people.
Funding for the new service was set aside in the 2021-22 Federal Budget as part of the Government’s $2.3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan which will see the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network receive over $4.4 million over four years from 2023-24 to commission headspace Hawkesbury.
Headspace is aimed at young Australians aged 12 – 25 and offers free or low-cost support for mental health, physical and sexual health, work and study, and alcohol and other drug use.
Federal member for Macquarie Susan Templeman welcomed the announcement but slammed the delay for getting a headspace service for the region, saying the Government has had nine years to commit the funding to a service in the Hawkesbury.
“They could have done this after the bushfires. They could have done this after the first flood. Or the second one. They could have done this during lockdown. But no. They waited for an election,” she said. “Mental health services save lives. Holding out on them costs lives. “
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said that the new centre will be a critical resource for young people in the Hawkesbury.
“By providing specialist care in a safe and friendly youth-focused environment, headspace Hawkesbury will play a critical role in supporting young people to address complex mental health issues,” she said.
Services are co-designed with and for young people to ensure that they are relevant, accessible, and delivered in a safe, confidential, and youth-friendly environment.
Establishing a headspace centre requires extensive community consultation with young people, their families, friends and local services to determine what is required for each community; completion of tender activities; securing and fitting premises; staff recruitment and training; and granting of approvals, among other processes.
It is estimated that one in four people aged 16 to 24 experiences some form of mental illness every year and that 75 per cent of mental health issues developing before the age of 25.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the headspace network is at the heart of the Government’s vision for youth primary mental health services.
“With a focus on early intervention, headspace works with young people at a crucial time in their lives to provide the best possible health care and support, reducing the duration and impact of mental illness and helping them achieve their full potential.”
Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).
Head to Health can be called on 1800 595 212 and is available Monday to Friday 8:30am-5pm.