Young Ballarat residents with mental health issues will get better care and support with the launch of a new headspace service today to help the region’s 12 to 25 year olds.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Senator Jacinta Collins, said mental health was the single biggest health issue facing young Australians.
“Every year, one in four young Australians experience a mental health disorder,” Minister Collins said.
"Without the right care and coordinated support, mental illness can interrupt schooling, affect employment and relationships, and in some cases, lead to substance abuse.”
Opening the new headspace centre today, Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, said young people in Ballarat would be able to visit the new site – open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm – to chat about their experiences and seek help and advice, as well as social and vocational support.
Appointments can be made direct with headspace Ballarat, without a doctor’s referral.
“Ballarat has a significant youth population of almost 20,000,” Ms King said.
“The new headspace centre will give young people in this region the help they need to get through tough times, get back on their feet and fulfil their potential.
“From our past experience with headspace, the impact of the service will be immediate, as it quickly helps young people find mental health care, related drug and alcohol services, other non-hospital care, and social and vocational support.”
“Local services are ready and willing to give headspace Ballarat their full support – which is a great foundation for it to offer young people the very best mental health care.”
The expansion of the headspace program is a key part of the Australian Government’s $2.2 billion five-year, mental health reform agenda.
Minister Collins said the Government has provided $197.3 million from 2011-12 to increase the number of headspace sites to 90. Once all 90 sites are fully operational, headspace will help up to 72,000 young Australians each year.
Of the 70 headspace sites announced to date, 35 are in rural and regional areas.
headspace is an innovative model bringing together a range of allied health professionals, doctors, youth workers and vocational workers in one place to support a local community.
Ballarat is one of 14, Round 4 sites to launch to date, the others being Port Augusta, Penrith, Shepparton, Chatswood, Newcastle, Dandenong, Bunbury, Knox, Midland, Ipswich, Mackay, Maroochydore, and Port Macquarie. The remaining site to be launched is Tamworth in New South Wales.
headspace Ballarat is located at 28 Camp Street, Ballarat, Victoria.