The Morrison Government will establish a new headspace service in South Eastern NSW 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 to 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.
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 Shellharbour and Kiama area 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,” Minister Hunt said.
“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.”
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.”
“We know that headspace is recognised by young people, their families and communities as a trusted source of care and that many communities are in need of more support to help them recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” Minister Coleman said.
“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 New South Wales, Jim Molan, said that the new centre will be a critical resource for the young people of the Kiama-Shellharbour catchment area.
“The Morrison Government continues to make the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians a national priority,” Senator Molan said.
“headspace services, like the one being established here in Whitlam are designed to provide a welcoming, stigma-free entry point for young Australians to access mental health information, services and supports.
“This service will also play an essential role in complimenting the $700m redevelopment of Shellharbour hospital which the Morrison Government is co-funding.”
Liberal Candidate for Whitlam, Mike Cains, said that the new centre will be a critical resource for the young people of South Eastern NSW.
“I am thrilled that our community will have access to the highest quality care and support when they need it most.” Mr Cains said.
“We are living through challenging times, it is critical that we support each other. This headspace will ensure we have the care available for people needing support long into the future.
“After the challenges of the last few years, looking after our mental health is more important than ever. By providing easy access to expert support in a confidential, welcoming environment, this new headspace centre will play an essential role in keeping the young people in our community safe and well.”
The new service is one of ten new centres funded in the 2021-22 Budget. These ten new centres will be established in a phased approach over four years as part of the largest ever expansion of the headspace Network, which will take the total number of headspace services nationally to 164 by 2025-26, up from just 56 in 2013.
The South Eastern Primary Health Network (PHN) will receive ongoing funding of more than $1 million per year from 2021-22 for the centre.
The Morrison Government continues to make mental health and suicide prevention a national priority and continues to drive structural reform and real change to deliver better outcomes for all Australians.
Through the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Budgets, the Government is investing a record $3 billion into the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to drive this reform.
As a result of these investments, funding for mental health and suicide prevention services through the Health portfolio have increased to a record $6.8 billion in 2022-23, more than doubling since 2012-13.
Unlike the Labor Party, which has not given Australians any detail on their plans for mental health, the Morrison Government will continue to ensure that all Australians can access information, advice, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it.
Young Australians needing support can access free services through their local headspace or online through eheadspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/).