$19m boost for youth mental services
University of Melbourne Professor of Youth Mental Health, Patrick McGorry, a member of the headspace Foundation Executive Committee, said many young people who experienced mental health problems had trouble accessing appropriate care.
He said the headspace model was leading the world. The new service centres would initially help tens of thousands of young Australians and give them hope of recovery, he said.
‘‘ It’s not just an unrealistic hope. Most young people with the right care and the right approach will get better — the vast majority.
‘‘ If they don’t get it (care), they’re looking down the barrel of decades of disability and wasted lives,’’ he said.
‘‘ We’re looking for a long-term support for this type of reform, which young people have got a right to expect,’’ he said.
Melbourne woman Carla Frost, 21, said she started to feel different during year 10 at school and tried to deal with her problems herself.
Eventually she presented to her GP with psychosis and depression and also sought treatment from an adult mental health service, an experience she described as frightening.
‘‘ I saw a heap of old people, people older than my parents who were really unwell, and I’d never sort of witnessed that before,’’ she told reporters at this week’s launch.
‘‘ There was always, during my illness, the thought that I’d get better and just live a normal life and for that moment (in the adult centre) I thought ‘ oh my God, that could be me’.’’
She said she would have preferred to visit a headspace centre, had one been available at the time.
Headspace CEO Mr Chris Tanti said early and effective intervention in youth mental health problems was a national priority.
‘‘ Our young people are our future: head- space believes they are a great investment,’’ Mr Tanti said in a statement. ‘‘ A strong focus on young people’s mental health has the capacity to generate greater personal, social and economic benefits than intervention at any other time in the lifespan. We know that it represents the best value for money for future reforms in the youth mental health area.’’
Twelve of the 20 new services will be run by consortia headed by divisions of general practice — locally-based networks linking the many private GPs practising in each area. The other eight services have divisions as partners.
Kate Carnell, the CEO of the divisions’ national umbrella body, the Australian General Practice Network, welcomed the expansion and said headspace ‘‘ has the potential to revolutionise the way young people think about mental health and access care’’.
The AGPN is a member of the consortium that governs headspace. The other partners are the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney, Orygen Youth Mental Health and the Australian Psychological Society.
Additional reporting: AAP
Headspace: Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon with MP Bill Shorten at the announcement of the grants