Head to Health centre to support people of Townsville

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Joint Media Release

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Hon. David Coleman MP

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Mr Phillip Thompson OAM MP

Federal Member for Herbert

As part of a major national rollout of mental health services, a Head to Health centre is now delivering services to the people of Townsville. People living in the Townsville region seeking assistance for their mental health will have access to another mental health service providing quality support. The service will soon be operated from a physical site at 32 Walker Street, Townsville.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, and Federal Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson, today formally launched the Townsville Head to Health centre in Townsville CBD, QLD.

“We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians,” Minister Hunt said.

“The Townsville Head to Health centre will be among the first, in a network of community mental health centres, ensuring people who need help have access to high quality, person-centred care where and when they need it.”

“Head to Health centres are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma, ‘no wrong door’ entry point for adults to access mental health information, services and supports through a multidisciplinary team operating over extended hours, without needing a prior appointment or paying a fee.”

Assistant Minister Coleman said the centre would provide a safe place for people experiencing high levels of distress, or who are at heightened risk of suicide.

“At their core, the Head to Health centres, like this new one in Townsville, will be staffed by multidisciplinary teams that will offer support to adults experiencing mental ill-health by providing support and mental health treatment over the short to medium term.”

Federal Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson welcomed the opening of the new centre and said, “There’s nothing more important than your health, and that includes your mental health. That’s something I know first hand.”

“Unfortunately there’s been an increasing demand for mental health services in Townsville which is exactly why I’ve pushed for this local centre – to meet some of that need. It’s OK not to be OK, but it’s not ok to suffer in silence – this will be somewhere people can go to get that help.” Mr Thompson said.

“This centre will integrate with other services to address fragmentation and offer seamless care pathways, with an emphasis on ensuring consumers and carers do not need to retell their story.”

As part of the 2019-20 Budget, the Morrison Government committed $114.5 million to fund the trial of eight ‘Head to Health’ Adult Mental Health Centres, with one centre to be established in each state and territory.

An additional $487.2 million was announced under the 2021-22 Budget to expand the program to an additional 32 sites (eight new centres and 24 satellites) and provide ongoing funding for the initial eight trial sites.

“Services provided at these centres will be recovery focused, trauma informed and person-centred,” Minister Hunt said.

“The Morrison Government is committed to working towards zero suicides and transforming the mental health system to ensure that all Australians can access the right care and essential services whenever and wherever they need,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“I’m pleased the new Townsville Head to Health centre will also play an essential role in supporting local GPs, private and public hospitals and emergency departments, by providing accessible mental health care,” Mr Thompson said.

The service has been commissioned by the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQ PHN) and will be operated by Neami National.

The Morrison Government is providing unprecedented funding and support for mental health, investing a record $2.3 billion in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, delivering significant reform of the mental health system and ensuring all Australians have access to high quality, person-centred care.

Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.

Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

The Morrison Government continues to make mental health and wellbeing a priority. Our Government provided a historic $2.3 billion in the 2020-21 Budget to deliver significant reform of the mental health system and ensure that all Australians have access to high quality, person-centred care as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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