Youth mental health support services through headspace Sale

Relationships Australia Victoria

Young people in the Wellington community will soon have access to specialised mental health support delivered online by a new headspace satellite in Sale. Services are expected to be available by late July 2020.

The service will provide free or low-cost support for young people aged between 12 and 25 years to assist with challenges, questions or concerns they may have about their mental health, alcohol and other drug issues, physical and sexual health, and relationships.

headspace Sale will operate three days a week, initially providing telephone and video services before face-to-face services commence in August, when the satellite site in Raymond Street, Sale, physically opens its doors.

As lead agency for the service, Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) is well-placed to lead headspace Sale, with the organisation having extensive experience delivering youth mental health services through existing headspace centres in Bairnsdale, and in Wonthaggi and through five outreach locations across South Gippsland and Bass Coast. RAV has also been delivering its specialised i-Connect Family Mental Health Support Service for children and young people in East Gippsland since 2014.

“RAV has been serving the Gippsland community for more than 20 years, and we’re pleased to be able to expand available services through headspace Sale, particularly as the Sale community has advocated strongly for, and is very supportive of this new satellite,” RAV CEO Dr Andrew Bickerdike said.

“It’s been a difficult six months for these communities as a result of the recent East Gippsland bushfires and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the services available at headspace Sale will enable young people and their families in Sale and surrounding areas to access much-needed support.”

Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said that more needed to be done to support young people and make sure they could get help when they needed it.

“Local doctors, youth groups, concerned parents and the wider community said clearly there was significant unmet demand for youth mental health services in Sale and an urgent need for additional support for our young people,” Mr Chester said. “There will be many people who’ll be relieved this new service is now operational.”

headspace Sale, a satellite site attached to the existing headspace parent centre in Bairnsdale, is being operated in partnership with 11 local service providers comprising the headspace Bairnsdale Consortium, and with the support of contract manager Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN).

“RAV has established strong working relationships through headspace Bairnsdale, and it’s wonderful to be able to continue to work collectively to assist Wellington residents,” said Dr Bickerdike.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the specialised support delivered through the headspace site in Sale would complement other important mental health services for young people across Wellington Shire.

Ms Proposch said the local community recognised the need for this service and the Australian Government had enabled its establishment through Gippsland PHN.

“The headspace service will ensure that young people have access to support for a variety of mental health and other physical health services, delivered from the one location,” Ms Proposch said. “We look forward to working closely with RAV, headspace National and the Wellington community.”

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan, recognised what an important development headspace Sale is for the local community.

“Young people have experienced challenges recently from bushfires to the social and economic fall outs of COVID-19, which impact their mental health. We are thrilled that headspace Sale will be there to support young people from across the region to get through tough times and get back on track,” Mr Trethowan said.

The satellite is being developed with the input of a group of young people who are Wellington Shire Youth Councillors. A Youth Advisory Group will also be established to inform the ongoing operation of the service.

Wellington Shire Youth Councillor, Ellie, said that “Having a headspace in Sale will deliver greatly needed and appreciated services to the young people in Wellington Shire. We are super excited to see this happen!”

headspace Sale will operate on Tuesdays from 12pm to 8pm, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 6pm.

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