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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