$19m boost for youth men­tal ser­vices

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

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

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