Haven for health and hap­pi­ness

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By NA­TALIE HOLMES

WALK­ING into headspace Dubbo, there is an im­me­di­ate feel­ing of warmth and well­be­ing. There are rooms ded­i­cated to chill­ing out, meet­ing with oth­ers and for pro­fes­sional as­sis­tance. Ser­vices in­clude help with work and study op­tions, men­tal and sex­ual health, drugs and al­co­hol and youth pro­grams.

It’s all aimed at young peo­ple aged from 12 to 25 to sup­port them through the tran­si­tion from ado­les­cence to adult­hood.

“We have loads of ser­vices avail­able,” se­nior vo­ca­tional spe­cial­ist Kevin Saul told

He con­nects youth with po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers, a role which is work­ing ex­tremely well in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

There’s also a doc­tor, youth care co­or­di­na­tor and coun­selling ser­vices on site.

“It takes a lot for a young per­son to come through that door,” Mr Saul said.

“Some­times they are re­ferred by fam­ily, friends or a carer, other agen­cies or their GP. They can be re­ferred by a lot of places.

“If they self-re­fer, they are gen­er­ally feel­ing pretty low.”

Life can be over­whelm­ing at the best of times, but for young peo­ple go­ing through a broad range of emo­tions, dis­cov­er­ing sex­ual iden­tity and deal­ing with the pres­sures of school, peers and so­cial me­dia, it can be par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult.

But headspace of­fers a haven away from those stresses which, if ig­nored, can man­i­fest into greater anx­i­eties, de­pres­sion and even sui­ci­dal ten­den­cies.

“We want to be a place of well­ness and well­be­ing with all the ser­vices un­der one roof,” Mr Saul said.

“We want to make it a safe, friendly en­vi­ron­ment, em­pow­er­ing kids with men­tal health is­sues. Any­one that vis­its can be­come a client and we are do­ing our best to drop the stigma that can be at­tached.”

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is sup­port­ing the work of headspace with a re­cent $51.8 mil­lion fund­ing boost to­wards men­tal health care for young Aus­tralians.

Mem­ber for Parkes Mark Coul­ton said the gov­ern­ment’s ad­di­tional in­vest­ment in the na­tional net­work of headspace cen­tres and the dig­i­tal por­tal, eheadspace, will ben­e­fit young peo­ple.

“Young peo­ple will soon have ac­cess to ad­di­tional ser­vices, shorter wait times and ex­tra clin­i­cal staff, as a re­sult of this ad­di­tional headspace fund­ing,” Mr Coul­ton said.

“Headspace pro­vides an ex­cel­lent ser­vice for peo­ple aged 12-25 years in my elec­torate, as a sin­gle en­try point to friendly pri­mary care and sup­port for phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing.

“It’s im­por­tant young peo­ple know they are not alone and that qual­ity front­line sup­port is avail­able, which in­cludes early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices.”

One in four young Aus­tralians ex­pe­ri­ences men­tal ill­ness in any given year, and last year alone, ap­prox­i­mately 33,800 young peo­ple ac­cessed eheadspace seek­ing sup­port.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit headspace.org.au or call 5852 1900. If you or some­one you know is strug­gling to cope, don’t be afraid to reach out for sup­port.

PHOTO: WENDY MER­RICK

Kevin Saul from Headspace’s Dubbo of­fice said it takes a lot for a young per­son to come through that door, but when they do they’re ac­cess­ing a very ef­fec­tive range of sup­port ser­vices to help them nav­i­gate life’s chal­lenges.

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