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The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE - AN­NIKA SMETHURST NA­TIONAL PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

MORE young Aus­tralians bat­tling men­tal ill-health will be able to get help from the ex­perts at headspace, with Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son to to­day an­nounce a $50 mil­lion cash in­jec­tion to the life-sav­ing ser­vice.

The PM vows the funds will go to­wards an ex­tra 14,000 men­tal health ser­vices at headspace’s 107 youth men­tal health hubs across Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing more than $10 mil­lion for NSW headspace cen­tres.

The new money will help cen­tres em­ploy more staff and re­duce wait­ing times. An ex­tra $12 mil­lion will be spent on dig­i­tal sup­port ser­vice eheadspace, for clients who can’t ac­cess cen­tres or pre­fer the pri­vacy of on­line.

The mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar boost is on top of the $95.7 mil­lion a year the govern­ment has al­ready com­mit­ted to the 107 headspace cen­tres across the coun­try.

The fund­ing boost comes af­ter The Sun­day Tele­graph’s Can We Talk cam­paign saved headspace from likely doom in 2016. We re­vealed the Turn­bull govern­ment’s plan to al­low lo­cal health bu­reau­crats to de­cide whether or not to fund in­di­vid­ual headspace cen­tres. As a di­rect re­sult of The Sun- day Tele­graph’s pres­sure, 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 as well as doc­tors and nurses for Aus­tralians aged 12 to 25.

Re­search re­leased last week, re­vealed that 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 — 38 per cent — than young men with 26 per cent.

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 help headspace be more ac­ces­si­ble so we can work with young peo­ple ear­lier in their life,” Mr Trethowan said.

“Some cen­tres have re­ported in­creased wait­ing times for young peo­ple. This fund­ing will en­sure sup­port is ac­cessed in the early stages of dis­tress when young peo­ple are best able to re­cover quickly.”

Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt said the govern­ment would en­sure that the men­tal health and well­be­ing of young Aus­tralians was a ma­jor health pri­or­ity. The cash boost comes just weeks af­ter the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics re­leased new fig­ures which showed Aus­tralia’s sui­cide rate had hit a 10-year high. LIFE­LINE 13 11 14 HEADSPACE. ORG. AU KIDS HELPLINE 1800 55 1800

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