HAPPY HEADSTART

Cockburn Gazette - - OPINION - PRO­FES­SOR PA­TRICK MCGORRY, Headspace found­ing board mem­ber.

ON Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 11, thou­sands of peo­ple across the coun­try gen­er­ously threw their sup­port be­hind the in­au­gu­ral Headspace Day.

This na­tional day is to en­sure that ev­ery young per­son has ac­cess to youth-friendly men­tal health ser­vices, no mat­ter where they live.

Headspace Day cel­e­brated 10 years of in­no­va­tion in youth men­tal health and was also trig­gered by alarm­ing new re­search from Ory­gen and headspace that re­vealed over 50 per cent of young peo­ple were wait­ing six or more months be­fore seek­ing help for men­tal health is­sues.

This pe­riod of wait­ing and wor­ry­ing can have detri­men­tal ef­fects, from so­cial iso­la­tion to re­la­tion­ship break­downs, drug and al­co­hol abuse and in se­vere cases, in­ci­dents of self-harm or sui­cide.

Nearly half said they be­lieved they could not be helped and more than 50 per cent said they were afraid of what oth­ers would think.

We need to change these per­cep­tions.

Ev­ery year, a quar­ter of all young peo­ple in this coun­try will ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal health is­sues and we want them all to know headspace is here to help.

Headspace has made out­stand­ing progress over the past 10 years, but we still have a way to go.

Ac­cess is cru­cial and help seek­ing is the first step that ev­ery young per­son must make and we need to con­tinue to pro­vide ef­fec­tive and easy path­ways to make sure this can hap­pen for ev­ery­one.

We want to see ev­ery Aus­tralian com­mu­nity with a headspace cen­tre.

If you would like to sup­port headspace, visit headspace­day.org.au to see how you and your lo­cal com­mu­nity can get in­volved or give a do­na­tion to sup­port young peo­ple in need.

And fi­nally, thanks to ev­ery­one who took part in the first Headspace Day. We look for­ward to you all join­ing us again next year.

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