Mental health service boost
$50m for headspace hubs
MORE young Australians battling mental health issues will be able to get help from the experts at headspace, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to today announce a $50 million cash injection for the lifesaving service.
Mr Morrison is vowing the money will fund an extra 14,000 mental health services each year at headspace’s 107 youth mental health hubs across Australia, including more than $750,000 for Tasmania’s two headspace centres.
The money will help centres employ more clinical staff and reduce waiting times.
An extra $12 million will be spent on eHeadspace, a digital support service for young Aus- tralians who can’t access centres or who prefer to use online services to access support.
The funding boost comes after News Corp’s Can We Talk campaign saved headspace from likely doom in 2016, when it revealed the Turnbull Government’s plan to allow local health bureaucrats to decide whether to fund individual headspace centres.
As a direct result, the Government ring-fenced headspace’s funding, guaranteeing the service would survive.
With more than three quarters of mental health problems starting before the age of 25, headspace centres offer free access to psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, doctors and nurses for young Australians aged 12 to 25.
New research, released last week, revealed one third of young Australians are reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress — more than three times the number about a decade ago. Young women reported higher rates of distress than men with 38 per cent of females compared with 26 per cent of young men.
Headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan attributed the rise in mental health issues to an increase in the use of social media, exam pressures and changing family relationships.
“This investment will assist in headspace being more accessible,” Mr Trethowan said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government would ensure the mental health of young Australians was made a major priority.