While support for youth mental health has received a boost, South West provider headspace has said the accessibility of services still needed to be a priority.
The Turnbull Government announced headspace’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation would receive a $30 million boost as part of a $110 million funding initiative to extend and expand mental health programs for young Australians.
Close to 3000 young people have been supported on more than 17,500 occasions since headspace Bunbury opened in January 2013.
Busselton and Bunbury headspace clinical leader Yvonne Stanes said the number of people accessing the service continued to increase by an extra 100 young people every year.
“Any increase in funding will enable services to expand and more young people being supported,” she said.
“We do have anecdotal feedback from young people that they are not able to access youth friendly mental health support as travelling to Bunbury is not an option for them due to cost and practical barriers.”
Until the creation of the headspace satellite service in Busselton, the Bunbury office was the service provider for the whole South West.
For youth in towns such as Collie and Margaret River, the nearest headspace is still a 40 minute commute.
Relationships Australia WA family mental health services is the lead agency for Busselton and Bunbury headspace.
Senior manager Janalie Nelson reiterated the need for accessibility.
“We need to make it as easy as possible for young people to access the support they need and even 40 minutes of travel could be a real barrier for them,” she said.
“It is very encouraging that youth mental health is regarded as a priority on a national level and that this is filtering through in an increase in funding and hopefully an increase in youth friendly mental health services becoming available for young people in the South West.”
Forrest MP Nola Marino has been advocate for more mental health support in the electorate and said she wanted to see more services in the South West.
“I fought to get a headspace in Bunbury and now in Busselton. I’m now fighting to open a centre in Margaret River,” she said.
If you are experiencing depression or are suicidal, or know someone who is, help is available.
Lifeline: 13 11 44
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636