On Tuesday, the Hon Marise Payne, Senator for Western Sydney, and Sarah Richards, Liberal candidate for the seat of Macquarie, announced that the Morrison Government will fund a new headspace service in Katoomba.
Together with the community, we have been advocating for additional youth mental health services in our region for some time and we are thrilled that Katoomba will receive a headspace service in mid-2020 to help address youth anxiety and depression.
Using the National Mental Health Services Planning Framework tool, we estimate that currently 28% of children and young people aged 5-17 years living in the Blue Mountains are at risk of, or are affected by mental illness. Of these, only 15% are estimated to have a diagnosed mental illness.
We know that mental health and suicide are complex issues that are influenced by a number of interacting psychological, social and cultural factors. Early intervention programs such as headspace are critical as they not only impact young people’s lives in the present but can influence the whole community as these young people mature into adulthood.
As a PHN, we are passionate about our role in addressing local health needs and this announcement once again demonstrates that our local knowledge, understanding and advocacy can help deliver improved health outcomes for our community.
Whilst we are excited by this announcement, we recognise that there is more work to be done. We will continue to call for additional mental health support in our region, particularly for young people in the Hawkesbury.
Pictured from left: Dr Michael Crampton, Wentworth Healthcare GP Clinical Lead Integrated Care; Gregory Lazarus, CEO Gateway Family Services; Senator Marise Payne; Elisa Manley, Wentworth Healthcare, Executive Manager and Liberal candidate for Macquarie, Sarah Richards.