The Morrison Government will establish a new headspace service in the Hawkesbury to provide additional mental health support for young people in the region.
headspace is the Government’s flagship health programme for young Australians aged 12 - 25. It offers highly effective free or low-cost support for mental health, physical and sexual health, work and study, and alcohol and other drug use. 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.
The new centre, funded in the 2021-22 Budget as part of the Government’s $2.3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, will ensure that young people in the Hawkesbury and surrounding areas can access the vital support they need to support their mental health and wellbeing.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said young people have been affected significantly by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and access to mental health services and support was more important than ever.
“We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have been incredibly difficult and stressful for many Australians, and particularly younger Australians. That is why we are prioritising mental health support, ensuring that young people have access to care to help them recover and thrive as we reopen the country,” Minister Hunt said.
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.”
“Over the next four years, the Government is investing a record $873.2 million in the national headspace network to establish more centres, improve existing sites, deliver more mental health services, and reduce wait times for access to mental health care.”
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,” Senator Payne said.
“Liberal for Macquarie, Sarah Richards, has advocated tirelessly on behalf of the Hawkesbury community to lock in this significant investment because she understands the importance of taking practical action on youth mental health issues.
“In fact, Ms Richards successfully secured a commitment from the government in 2019 to establish headspace Katoomba, which is now open.
“headspace Katoomba has been embraced by the Blue Mountains community, and I have every confidence that the Hawkesbury community will similarly welcome this new service.”
The new service is one of ten new centres funded in the 2021-22 Budget, which included $278.6 million to continue safeguarding the mental health of young Australians by strengthening, enhancing, and expanding the national headspace network.
The Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network will receive over $4.4 million over four years from 2023-24 to commission headspace Hawkesbury.
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.
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).
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