Blue Mountains News
$5.5 Million to Establish Headspace Services in Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury
This election will be a choice between a united Shorten Labor Government which will take care of the vulnerable in our community, or more of the Liberals' cuts and chaos.
Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said a Shorten Labor Government would provide $3.5 million to create a new, full-service headspace centre in Katoomba and $2 million for a Hawkesbury headspace outreach service.
"Youth mental health is a persistent and increasing concern in both the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury," Ms Templeman said.
"Parents, community members and young people themselves have raised with me the need for more youth mental health services in both the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury.
"My own family's experience with the lack of mental health services for young people was the driving force behind running for Parliament.
"This investment in youth mental health services is something I have been fighting for, for nearly 10 years.
Ms Templeman's daughter, Phoebe Fuller (now in her twenties) said: "I was 14 before anyone used the words mental illness to describe what I was feeling. By the time I got into high school, I was 12 years old and suicidal.
"If there had been somewhere I could go or someone I could talk to who could help me describe and articulate what I was experiencing, I could have gotten some early intervention.
"Not only does headspace provide a place for young people to go where they can (guilt-free) express how they're feeling, but it also supports the families around them."
Ms Templeman said "At the moment there are no headspace services located in the Blue Mountains or Hawkesbury, meaning our young people need to get to Penrith or Bathurst to access a headspace service.
"The $3.5 million facility in Katoomba will make a huge difference to the way young people in the Blue Mountains access early intervention mental health services, with wrap-around services for them and their families.
"In the Hawkesbury, I have consulted extensively with mental health service consumers and service providers and there is an urgent need for youth mental health services.
"Given the geography of the Hawkesbury and the lack of public transport options, this $2 million headspace outreach program will help reach our young people by delivering services to them in their communities.
"By creating a dedicated headspace centre in Katoomba, and an outreach service in the Hawkesbury, Labor will help ensure that when young people put their hand up, say they are not well and they need help, services are available and accessible.
"The headspace centre and outreach programs will also promote young peoples' wellbeing across mental health; physical health; work and study support; and alcohol and other drug services," Ms Templeman said.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health Senator Deborah O'Neill said Labor acknowledges, values and respects the amazing and tireless work undertaken by youth mental health professionals.
"When a young person is experiencing mental ill health and they are attempting to seek help, there is a small window to intervene and help them and their loved ones," Ms O'Neill said.
"For many young people, these services are not easily accessible.
"Labor is proud to commit $5.5 million for these services which Susan Templeman has been fighting for since before she entered Parliament," said Ms O'Neill.
This announcement builds on Labor's strong history of supporting and expanding headspace, including our recent announcements to open new headspace centres across the country.
When Labor was in government, we increased the number of headspace sites by investing almost $200 million to bring the total number of headspace centres to 90. Labor also expanded the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre services that are delivered by headspace.
Labor continues to take action on youth mental health because it is the right thing to do - for our young people, their families and the broader community.
* For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978 *
Joint media release from:
Julie Collins MP, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health, Member for Franklin
Senator Deborah O'Neill, Shadow Assistant Minister for Innovation, Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health
Manager of Opposition Business in The Senate, Senator for New South Wales
Susan Templeman MP, Member for Macquarie
Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.
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