After enduring years of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, young people on the South Coast are struggling with a range of mental health issues, but a funding boost is aimed at providing better access to support services.
A $1.2 million injection to Batemans Bay’s headspace service will reduce wait times and enhance the quality of experience for local young people seeking support.
The service currently assists around 75 young people per week, from Ulladulla to Moruya, and the funds will provide additional staff to take on more clients.
Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips and the newly sworn-in Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health Emma McBride made the announcement in Batemans Bay on Wednesday 20 July.
Mrs Phillips said the funding would “go a long way towards supporting local young people who need mental health support”.
“This funding is welcome news for our teenagers and young adults who deserve to have the care they need when they need it, close to home,” she said.
“Right now, demand for mental health support is at an all-time high across Australia.
“We know that, particularly in our region following years of drought, bushfires, floods and the pandemic, many local young people are struggling.
“I have fought long and hard for this headspace to be built and delivered quickly in the wake of the bushfires to give young people in the Batemans Bay area access to these essential mental health services.”
Australia is experiencing a record surge in demand for mental health support, particularly among young Australians and headspace Batemans Bay community engagement and awareness officer Di Riley said the funds would “ensure our young people in our communities get the support they need.”
“For us at headspace this will mean we will be able to employ additional staff to ensure the time young people have to wait to see a clinician will be greatly reduced,” Ms Riley said.
“On average we are seeing 75 clients within a one-week period; with more staff this will be able to be increased.”
The funding is part of a wider $44 million announcement for 57 headspace services across Australia under the headspace Demand Management and Enhancement Grant Opportunity.
This round includes $27 million to reduce wait times at 31 headspace centres around the country, and another $17 million to improve buildings and equipment at 38 headspace centres.
Located in Clyde Street, headspace Batemans Bay provides a safe and confidential environment for young people to access services across the areas of physical health, mental health, alcohol and other drugs support as well as work and study assistance.
If you, or someone you know needs support, contact headspace on 1800 718 383 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.