Plan boosts youth mental health

Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

South West youth will have greater access to mental health support with two new services launching early next year.

Forrest MHR Nola Marino said there was a significant need for community-based mental health services for young people in the lower South West, with flexible operating hours a priority.

“Approximately $500,000 in funding will support a youth psychosis South West Youth Mental Healthservice and a satellite youth mental health headspace service based in Busselton but with the hub being the existing centre in Bunbury,” she said.

“The South West has the most rapidly growing population of any country region in Western Australia, with more than 11 per cent of the population in the Busselton area between the ages of 15 to 24, a relatively high proportion of young people.

“Being able to provide local services is vital to ensuring our youth can access appropriate support, without the additional barriers of distance and travel.”

The new headspace satellite service in Busselton will operate three days a week, one of which will be after-hours.

However, headspace Bunbury centre manager Marie Eckersley said she was hoping to increase that in the future.

“Hopefully soon we will be able to increase to five days but it is all depending on funding,” she said.

“This is basically an extension of headspace Bunbury.

“Obviously headspace follows a certain model and that model will be implemented in Busselton.”

Ms Eckersley said there had been an increase in the number of young people seeking help.

“I think it is about making young people feel comfortable and I think they are more comfortable with youth friendly services,” she said.

“When it comes to depression and anxiety I think they are the two highest areas when it comes to the mental health of youth.

“I think social attitudes are changing and I think people are becoming more understanding and open to the fact that it is not something to be ashamed about.”

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