HEADSPACE DAY: It is hoped new headspace mental health services will be up and running in the Whitsundays and Sarina early next year
HEADSPACE DAY: It is hoped new headspace mental health services will be up and running in the Whitsundays and Sarina early next year

More youth mental health services to help spike in demand

IT IS hoped new headspace mental health services will be open in the Whitsundays and Sarina early next year as the region grapples with an influx of young people in need of support.

Dawson MP George Christensen gave the update ahead of Wednesday’s Headspace Day, where he also revealed staggering figures showing 550 new young people presented to headspace Mackay during the last financial year.

“That’s over 10 a week – that is a massive need,” Mr Christensen said.

“Something like 72 per cent of those young people came here because they were not feeling in the right headspace.

“There was a further 10 per cent who came here about issues to do with school or the workplace, and perhaps that was bullying-related.”

Mr Christensen said the high number of new presentations to headspace Mackay was partially due to young people travelling from the Whitsundays and Sarina to access the service.

HEADSPACE DAY: Mackay clinic centre manager Philip Ward, Dawson MP George Christensen and clinical lead Sonia Wyatt.
HEADSPACE DAY: Mackay clinic centre manager Philip Ward, Dawson MP George Christensen and clinical lead Sonia Wyatt.

The establishment of the youth mental health service in the Whitsundays was highlighted by Mr Christensen as an important issue for the region ahead of the May federal election.

“From talking to Northern Australia Primary Health Limited, they are in the throes of discussions and contracts around the establishment of those services in the Whitsundays and Sarina, and I hope we’re going to see them up and running early in the new year,” he said.

“It will be an outreach service, but one that’s got a pretty permanent presence in those localities.”

Headspace clinic centre manager Philip Ward said despite an influx of new presentations, the Mackay service was still meeting demand.

“Most of the clients present with high-prevalency disorders such as anxiety and depression and they’re able to make a referral here by actually ringing us direct or going through their GP,” Mr Ward said.

“One of the problems we’ve seen in the past is the recruitment and retention of staff. It’s not just headspace, similar organisations (are experiencing this) in Mackay and other regions.”

Headspace Day raises awareness of the importance of young people taking care of their mental health.

The organisation will also participate in the Mackay Mental Health and Wellbeing Community Fair on Saturday.

The fair will run from 11am to 3pm at the Mackay Showgrounds and coincides with Queensland Mental Health Week.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.