Speech - Opening of headspace, Noarlunga SA 25 May 2012
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25 May 2012
Another inspirational story from Carolyn and Marcel.
One of the wonderful things about my job is travelling around and doing openings at centres like this and at everyone we’ve done, and we’ve got a few more to do over the next few weeks, I hear these extraordinary stories of young people getting over adversity and taking such a positive outlook on life. I think everyone said they’re going to study social work too, so we’re going to have a fantastic new graduate intake in social work.
Thank you for coming here to be part of this really exciting opening in a hub of services that really is pretty hard to rival, certainly in Adelaide, but really hard to rival anywhere in the country that I go to. The services that are being built on the mud flat that was here the last time I was here are incredibly exciting. Congratulations to the local community, local providers, particularly to the State Government for partnering with the Commonwealth for the GP Plus Super Clinic and also your contribution [Minister] John Hill, to developing this service.
Can I acknowledge all the people who have previously been acknowledged, but also particularly Amanda Rishworth, who is young herself, so brings a particular perspective. She is a consistent advocate for the south, but also as far as I know the only qualified mental health professional in the Federal Parliament, so she does bring a particular perspective.
We’ve known a few things about youth mental health for quite a long time. It is unique among the major health conditions. If you think about cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes, most of the major national health priorities are all, except for mental health, conditions that largely come on in middle age or beyond. As Barbara said, mental illness is unique. Two thirds of mental disorders emerge before 21 and three quarters before 25, actually a quarter before 12, which is why a significant part of the reform package we introduced in the Budget last year is focused on that perinatal period right up until 12 years of age as well. This period of adolescence and young adulthood is incredibly important for dealing with emerging mental disorders and building good mental health resilience for adulthood. We’ve known that for quite some time.
We’ve also known that young people have the lowest access to treatment of all with young men – even lower than the general access to treatment rate for teenagers and young adults. About one in seven or one in eight young men who have mental disorders seeks treatment. That is an appallingly low access to treatment rate.
We also know that if young people have an emerging mental disorder, sexual health or substance abuse issue, they’re probably not going to want to go and talk to mum and dad’s GP about them. They need services that are youth-friendly, welcoming and easy to access, close to the sort of hubs that Noarlunga Centre provides.
We’ve known these things for a long time and what is extraordinary is that it took us this long to develop headspace. headspace is not that old. As a concept, it is only about five-years-old and this is only the 37th centre. We’ve got three more to open over the next few weeks. It really does tick all of those boxes as I go around the country – we’ve got one in Broome, down to Hobart, in Cairns we’re opening soon, down to Albany in Western Australia – we find time and time again young people standing up like Carolyn and Marcel did and ask why hasn’t there been this type of service forever? When I was young? But we have them now and we’re building more. We’ll have 40 open very soon. We’ve got 15 in development, including one in the Upper Spencer Gulf region. I’ll be announcing 15 more locations in the coming weeks. We’ll announce 15 more next year and we will get to 90 services over the next couple of years, which is incredibly exciting.
Not only will we get to 90 services, we’ve also doubled the funding (out of last year’s budget) doubled the funding every year for each service. So that equals three times the services, twice the funding and, as Barbara said, really exciting initiatives as well like e-headspace which provides 24/7 support either over the telephone or over the internet-counseling support for young people 365 days a year. We’re also funding headspace to do new services like Outreach to schools which are experiencing crisis. Still, two or three high school aged students kill themselves every week and the school communities that experience that tragedy really do go into a significant period of crisis that school counselors and teachers and school leaders find very difficult to deal with alone. Out of last years budget, we came up with significant funding for headspace to provide a crisis outreach service that will be able to reach out to those school communities very quickly and help those communities deal with that tragic loss and prevent the risk, or at least mitigate the risk of copycat suicides in those communities that we know too often happen.
headspace is building an extraordinary array of services and capacities to deal with this long-running challenge we have of providing youth-friendly and youth-appropriate services to young people dealing with mental health, sexual health, or drug and alcohol issues.
So congratulations to headspace, particularly to the local consortium partners and to the people who are working at this wonderful place. I talk to people working at headspace services around the country and they say this is an exciting place to work. It’s cutting edge, it’s innovative, it’s popular – people are going to walk in the door increasingly. And you are now becoming part of a really exciting clinical network across the country which is making real inroads into our understanding about how to provide good, cutting edge mental health services to young people.
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