24 December 2023

Young district may receive additional mental health support in new year

| Edwina Mason
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Young District Hospital

There are hopes more mental health services will be on offer to residents of Young next year. Image: Edwina Mason.

Young residents will be heartened by the news a Head to Health service – which offers free mental health support – may be established in the town in 2024.

Although the nature of the amenity is not yet clear, the federally-funded Head to Health program offers mental health centres and pop-up clinics to people requiring mental health information and support.

This news came out of a Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) ‘Conversations on the Couch’ event earlier this year where several interviewees expressed concerns about the lack of mental health services, especially for young people.

Attention was also drawn to the considerable wait times to access these services.

MPHN said it was working closely with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) to establish a Head to Health service in Young to help address this issue.

In July, MPHN conducted interviews with residents, providing a platform for the community to voice their perspectives.

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Acting Senior Manager Integration Toni Preuss said improvements in health access, affordability, and the range of available services were common themes raised in the discussions.

“Many of the residents we spoke to reported consistently facing challenges in securing timely appointments with local GPs and specialists,” Ms Preuss said.

“Another significant issue was the recurring need to travel to neighbouring towns for medical services, like dialysis, and the costs involved with travel,” she said.

The affordability of healthcare services, including specialist consultations, hearing aids, reading glasses and medications, was also a common concern.

Attendees also spoke of the struggles faced by the Young community in attracting and retaining healthcare professionals such as GPs and pharmacists.

Despite appointment challenges, residents spoke positively about the GPs and specialists available in Young.

Emergency services at the hospital, notably the emergency department, were also commended.

“The residents we spoke to were happy with local aged care facilities, and especially appreciated the community transport services, social outings and support networks tailored for older residents, which was great to hear,” Ms Preuss said.

MPHN thanked the residents of Young who shared insights into their community’s health needs during the interviews.

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MPHN will use the feedback to inform the Federal Government about the health needs in the Murrumbidgee region during the Health Needs Assessment refresh at the end of the year.

“We sincerely thank everyone who took the time to engage in these conversations,” Ms Preuss said.

“Your feedback is invaluable in enhancing our understanding of emerging health needs for the Young community.”

Residents of Young are encouraged to continue sharing their thoughts on health by participating in the quick, anonymous Health Needs Assessment survey or by calling MPHN on (02) 6923 3100.

For more information on the health status of the Hilltops local government area, visit here.

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