'headspace' funding boost a win for Mayo youth

'headspace' funding boost a win for Mayo youth

The Federal Government’s $3 million funding injection into ‘headspace’ mental health services at Mount Barker and Victor Harbor over the next four years is just what the doctor ordered for the young people of Mayo, according to local MP Rebekha Sharkie.

Health Minister Greg Hunt today announced that $800,000 would be shared between the two regional centres this financial year to expand and set up satellite services.

From 2019-20, a total of $760,000 a year ($380 000 each) for three years would be provided to operate these two services.

“I think it's fantastic that the Minister has acted on the concerns raised by our community,” Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said.

“This announcement means more young people will get the support they need, it means the expanded Mount Barker ‘headspace’ is better able to meet the ever-growing demand for its services and young people on the South Coast have much better access to youth-specific services than they ever had in the past.

“'headspace' has outgrown their current premises in Mount Barker so we know the demand is there.

"This funding commitment to expand services in Mount Barker and Victor Harbor means more young people can reach out and get the advice and assistance they need, including more complex care.

“Through my office’s dealings with health groups, we know that one in five young people in Australia suffers from a serious mental illness, that suicide is the leading cause of death for young people and that for every young person who takes their own life there are up to 200 suicide attempts.

“Even during the recent by-election, our community raised preventative and acute mental health services for young people as a priority issue and I pledged to act on their behalf.

“I appreciate Minister Hunt’s open door policy towards discussing the health needs of our community.”

‘headspace’ is a specialist early intervention mental health service for young people aged 12 to 25 years.

Rebekha’s youth advisory group, Young Mayo, began campaigning for a full ‘headspace’ centre in the Hills in early 2017.

The group collected nearly 500 signatures for a petition calling for a ‘headspace’ service which Rebekha presented to the Parliament.

Funding for a full centre wasn’t allocated but the Country Primary Health Network (PHN) was able to provide funding for the Murray Bridge ‘headspace’ to officially open an Outreach service in Mount Barker in late 2017.

“Since then the demand for ‘headspace’ service has grown in our region, which everyone involved in youth mental health knew would be the case, so the Government’s funding injection is wonderful news.”

PHN will be the group managing the extra funding for the Mount Barker and Victor Harbor headspace satellites.

If you are experiencing mental health issues, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or visit beyondblue.org.au.