Page MP Janelle Saffin.
Page MP Janelle Saffin.

Plans for youth mental health service

TROUBLED teenagers will have their own youth mental health service in Lismore by 2014.

The headspace concept has been operating successfully to provide counselling and support for 12-25 year-olds in other regional centres, with the nearest being Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast.

Funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Health and Ageing under the Youth Mental Health Initiative, plans for the Lismore headspace were announced this week by Page MP, Janelle Saffin.

"I have long been lobbying to have a headspace in our area, given that 92% of young people (who have used the service in other areas) have reported improvements in their mental health," said Ms Saffin.

Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said it was known that one in four young people will experience a mental health problem this year.

"It's the single biggest issue facing young Australians," he said.

"The vast majority of these people aren't receiving the professional help they need because of a lack of access to youth-specific mental health services - or because they don't know who to turn to."

There's a way to go yet. A local consortium comprising North Coast Medicare Local, On Track Community Programs and other local provider agencies has to submit a strong submission to demonstrate the capacity exists here to pull it all together.

For kids who need help now, there's a hotline and website: 1800 55 1800; kidshelpline.com.au.


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