Headspace welcomes government’s commitment to support mental health of those affected by bushfires

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation welcomes the announcement from the Federal Government made today to dedicate funds for ongoing mental health support to individuals, families and communities impacted by the bushfires in Australia.

The Federal Government announced $3M for headspace centres in bushfire affected areas who will receive up to $300,000 to provide additional supports for young people, family and friends. Additional funding has also been allocated for the establishment of headspace Batemans Bay later in 2020.

Increased access to mental health services will also be enhanced for bushfire affected individuals, families and emergency response personnel who will be eligible for new Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions. This will be on top of the expansion of telehealth supports which can be accessed via headspace centres in bushfire affected communities.

Jason Trethowan, CEO at headspace is pleased to see the response from the Government and acknowledgement of the huge impact events such as the bushfires in Australia can have on the mental health of people in the community.

“What’s happening right now in Australia is an awful tragedy and our thoughts go out to those affected. We know events such as this can have a widespread and potentially long lasting impact so it’s pleasing to see the Government placing critical focus on mental health recovery.

“Young people may experience and process the effects of bushfires differently to other members of the community – whether they were directly or indirectly impacted. This is why it’s important that tailored, youth-friendly and responsive support is available.

“We recognise that mental health challenges may present down the track when the immediate risk is over, and we want to ensure any young people experiencing a tough time in the aftermath of this disaster know that support is available and that they can get the help they need.

“We are speaking with our headspace centres and Primary Health Networks in impacted areas to determine what they need and how we can best support young people in these communities straightaway, while recognising the critical importance of the local coordination of efforts. What’s also vitally important is the longer term plan into the recovery phase.

“The additional funding for centres in bushfire affected areas will enable additional support for communities and young people both now and into the future.” Trethowan said.

Resources for young people and family and friends on how to cope with the stress of natural disasters are available on the headspace website.

Young people going through a tough time who might need support can contact their local GP, local headspace centre or visit eheadspace.

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