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A welcome boost to young people’s access to mental health care

10 Jun 2020
The Commission welcomes the Australian Government’s $24.2 million investment in the headspace Demand Management and Enhancement Program, to reduce wait times and improve access to mental health support for young people aged 12-25.

The Commission’s CEO, Christine Morgan, acknowledged the targeted investment to increase the capacity for local headspaces to be able to deliver more timely treatment and support in community.  

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic it was acknowledged that headspace waiting lists needed to be reduced, to ensure young people and their families could connect to the support they needed, when they needed it,” Ms Morgan said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need to invest in increasing the capacity of many headspace centres, especially in communities with an increased need from young people who are experiencing the immediate and long-term social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Young people have experienced a serious impact on nearly every aspect of life, including schooling, study, social connection, job prospects, relationships with family and friends and participation in sport and social activities. Unsurprisingly, grappling with the enormity of this level of change and uncertainty has had an immediate effect on their mental health and wellbeing.”

Advanced knowledge of the pandemic’s impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing prioritised the need to normalise help-seeking behaviour to all Australians. For youth-focused services, the direct result was an increase in calls seeking help and delivery of mental health treatment sessions. Young people’s preference for online and digital services has also helped address the issue of access.

The National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan clearly identified children, young people and their families as vulnerable groups in our community who need to be able to access immediate and long -term mental health and wellbeing treatment and care.

“The Plan identifies changes needed across our mental health system, at all levels of investment and service delivery. Each headspace centre will play a key role in the transformation that is needed, including an increased ability to respond to need, and to strengthen connections in their community,” Ms Morgan added.

“Local GPs, parents, schools and other support people in a young person’s life should have a strong understanding of the kind of treatment and support that can be easily accessed at their local headspace centre. Likewise, young people should be able to easily connect to information, advice, and the diversity of treatment and care that they need without delay. This funding is about building capacity to meet demand, and enabling early intervention which we know is crucial in responding to mental ill health.”

To find a headspace service near you, visit www.headspace.org.au 

National 24/7 Support

If you, or anyone you know needs support the below support lines are available 24/7.

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service | 1800 512 348 | www.coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au 
Lifeline | 13 11 14  | www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service  | 1300 659 467 | www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Kids Helpline | 1800 55 1800 | www.kidshelp.com.au
MensLine Australia | 1300 78 99 78 | www.mensline.org.au