Blue Mountains News
New Youth Mental Health Support for Lithgow
As part of the package Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN), will receive funding to commission an outreach headspace service in Lithgow commencing in mid-2018.
Lizz Reay, CEO of Wentworth Healthcare said, “We are delighted by the news that Lithgow will receive this much needed funding to help address the high rates of youth mental health in the area.”
“This funding outcome is the culmination of many months of advocacy for additional services in the area in collaboration with Lithgow City Council, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District and the broader Lithgow community,” she said.
In recent times the Lithgow community has been deeply affected by a significant spike in suicides. In response to these tragedies, Lithgow City Council initiated the Mayor’s Mental Health Taskforce which brought together the expertise and experience of people in the mental health sector, including NBMPHN, to develop practical and effective initiatives to support the people of Lithgow and to ensure they receive the services they need.
headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said the local community and surrounding areas deserve access to youth friendly mental health services, like all young people across Australia.
“The headspace service in Lithgow will ensure any young person who may be going through a tough time is welcomed into an inclusive and youth-friendly environment,” Mr Trethowan said.
headspace is Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. The service is designed to make it as easy as possible for young people and their families to access the help they need for issues affecting their mental health.
Ms Reay said, “We know that mental health and suicide are complex issues that are influenced by a number of interacting psychological, social and cultural factors. Early intervention programs such as headspace are critical as they not only impact young people’s lives in the present but can influence the whole community as these young people mature into adulthood.”
“Whilst this outreach service is important in providing additional support to the Lithgow community, we recognise that there is much more work to be done to address mental health and the high rate of suicide in the area,” she added.
NBMPHN has also commissioned Wesley LifeForce to deliver free suicide prevention education and training workshops in Lithgow during March and April 2018. These programs will specifically target members of the community who may have a gatekeeper role; for example teachers, sports coaches etc. and will equip them with the tools to recognise and help someone who may be at risk. For more information or to register go to www.nbmphn.com.au/WesleyLifeForce.
To find out what other mental health support is available in Lithgow, visit www.mentalhealthhelp.com.au an online tool developed by NBMPHN in conjunction with the community. This site provides general mental health advice and localised information on mental health services, supports, advocacy and programs.
Kids Helpline, a free phone counselling line, is available 24/7 on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25).
If you need immediate crisis support, Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14.
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