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Interim Mental Health Support for Young People in Lithgow

Last month I wrote about the announcement by the Federal Government of funding to commission a new headspace outreach service in Lithgow in mid-2018.

While we work to establish this new service, it's important that youth in the area who are already experiencing psychological distress, can access the support they need.

As a result, we have established an interim measure that allows young Lithgow residents aged between 12 to 25 years old, who hold a current Centrelink issued Health Care Card, to access up to 12 sessions of free or low cost ($10) psychological services through a referral from their GP.

We are also working with Lithgow High School to develop an additional referral pathway through the School’s Wellbeing Centre. This would allow students in need of support to access one or two sessions, with a mental health practitioner, prior to being assessed and referred by a GP. This reduces the risk of delays in access to psychological support for young people.

This innovative localised solution, set-up in collaboration with healthcare providers and Lithgow High School, demonstrates what PHNs can do to address local health needs. We understand our community and we can create tailored solutions to meet our community’s needs.

We know that in recent times a significant spike in suicides in the Lithgow area has deeply affected the community. This is why this additional support in the area is so vital. To be able to react to an identified need like this, and find a way of providing greater local mental health support where it is needed, is at the heart of why PHNs were put in place.

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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