Relationships Australia WA and Headspace officially open in Busselton

Young people in Busselton will have better access to vital mental health support services with the launch of Relationships Australia WA incorporating a headspace satellite service.

The new centre is located on 71 Kent Street opposite St Joseph’s Church, is the start of headspace operating five days a week in Busselton.

The mental health services were established with the support of Forrest MP Nola Marino, through the Federal Government’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

headspace in Busselton will provide specialist early intervention mental health and wellbeing services for young people aged 12 to 25.

Relationships Australia WA chief executive officer Terri Reilly said headspace offered vital free access to a range of specialist mental health workers including GP’s, counsellors, psychologists and social workers.

In addition, Relationships Australia Busselton would offer extended services with education and counselling to families, couples and individuals through several specialist programs.

“The launch of headspace in Busselton means more young people across the South West can now access the support they need closer to home and that would not have been possible without the advocacy of Forrest MP Nola Marino,” she said.

“In Bunbury we are already supporting large numbers of young people through headspace and this is growing by about 100 a year.

“The opening of a Busselton headspace satellite within our new Relationships Australia office will expand our reach and allow better regional service – helping to combat the ongoing problem of long distances and service disadvantage in the area”.

Ms Reilly said Relationships Australia worked across a range of different areas including specific services to provide mental health support to young people and their families.

She welcomed the involvement of both Federal and State Government in helping to fund and address complex mental health challenges – particularly in regional areas.

Forrest MP Nola Marino said while aiding mental health generally was vital, it was particularly important to provide early support services to young people and their families - something best achieved when services were close by.

“We know mental health is a complex challenge with many impacts, and helping people to deal with that without the stress of having to travel long distances from home, is incredibly important,” she said.

“Securing funding for Relationships Australia to run headspace in Busselton has been a key goal for me and something I know will have lasting benefits for the young people of the area, and their families.”

Ms Reilly said Relationships Australia expected a large uptake of the Busselton service given the success of headspace in Bunbury which had supported more than 3000 young people in the South West since opening in 2013.

headspace provides support to young people who may be experiencing challenges in their day-to-day lives, which affects their mental health and wellbeing.

This can be particularly difficult for young people in regional areas of Australia.

headspace chief executive officer Jason Trethowan said it was essential these young people had the right support available to them.

“headspace wants any young person going through a tough time to have access to youth-friendly mental health services, no matter where they live.

“Our programs and services are driven by youth participation and engagement, which ensures all of our work is appropriate and welcoming to each community’s needs across the country,” he said.

“We welcome this exciting addition of a satellite service in Busselton, and look forward to seeing the community engage and rally behind it.”

Funding for headspace Bunbury and the Busselton satellite is provided by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and administered by the WA Primary Health Alliance.  

4families, a Relationships Australia program catering to families, couples and individuals, will continue to operate from the new Busselton office.

“With the opening of Relationships Australia Busselton anyone living in the region, not just young people, will be able to access counselling, home-based family support, support for parents and grandparents, as well as workshops and seminars,” Ms Reilly said.

“4families is just one of these programs - a free service offering holistic support to families and carers by helping to reduce family stress and helping children reach their full potential.

“Our programs support positive, respectful relationships while also dealing with the complex issues of mental health, drug addiction and other challenges experienced by Western Australian communities, families and individuals.” 

Ms Marino said at the opening her next mission was to bring a headspace service to Margaret River.

Ms Marino fought to get headspace to Busselton, was thrilled they have a new facility and are now operating five days a week.

“Mental health is such a big issue in the South West,” Mrs Marino said.

“I’m pleased young people of Busselton and surrounding towns have access to this vital service.

“This will save the many young people who make the trip from the lower South West to headspace Bunbury the drive to Bunbury, and will have a closer centre to visit.”

headspace is a mental health organisation which provides young people aged 12 to 25, free access to social workers, counsellors, psychologists and mental health workers.

Ms Marino is continuing to fight to deliver more mental health services across the South West.

“It’s an issue that is raised with me daily,” she said.

“headspace Busselton started off just a few days a week and now’s its five days. I’m fighting to get a headspace in Margaret River.”

Mrs Marino announced new funding for the Harvey Local Drug Action group a fortnight ago, to help address drug issues in the town.