Headspace welcomes vocational and mental health support for Australia’s most vulnerable

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation has welcomed tonight’s Federal Budget commitment of $45.7 million over four years from 2020-21 to expand the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program delivered at headspace. IPS supports young people up to the age of 25 with a mental health condition to participate in the workforce and will expand to a further 26 additional headspace centres, taking the total to 50 centres nationally.

Already operating in 24 headspace sites, the IPS model targets vulnerable young people with mental illness who are at risk of long-term welfare dependency because they disengage from education and employment.

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan applauded the Federal Government for placing emphasis on IPS as a way young people experiencing mental ill-health can get specialised support for work and study needs.

“Nationally, a third of young people between 17 and 25 accessing headspace services aren’t engaged in employment, education and training. Sadly, this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic so this extra help is more important now than ever before.

Australian and international evidence indicates that mental health among young people is deteriorating, with inextricable links between finding meaningful employment and a young person’s emotional wellbeing.

“Young people are adversely affected by this pandemic and account for nearly half of all job losses. Further, our headspace research found that half of the young people we surveyed felt that their study (53%) and work (48%) situation had been negatively impacted by COVID, and 40% said that COVID had impacted their confidence to achieve their future goals.”

headspace also welcomed Federal Budget announcements to see the national doubling of individual psychological therapy sessions under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) initiative, an increase from the original 10.

headspace thanked the Federal Government for ongoing investment into headspace services to support the wellbeing of young people nationally, including previously announced funding for bushfire affected communities and the Victorian COVID-19 response.

“We know the long-term social and economic impacts on the lives of young people as a result of the COVID-19 virus have the potential to influence theirs and their family’s mental health and wellbeing for many years.

“Ongoing Government investments enable us to get ahead of these issues and put measures in place to support the wellbeing of young people to ensure they’re proactively managing their mental health, prepared and hopeful about the future.

“We look forward to the release of the Productivity Commission’s Final Report in the coming weeks and continuing to engage with the Federal Government as it develops its response,” Trethowan said.

Young people who might need support for their mental health can contact their local GP, local headspace centre or visit eheadspace.

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