Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - Speech - 22 April 2024

Read Assistant Minister McBride's speech at the reopening of headspace Launceston.

The Hon Emma McBride MP
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Assistant Minister Rural and Regional Health

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Thank you to Nina for the acknowledgement of country. I also want to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and to pay my respects to elders, past and present, and to extend that respect to all First Nations people who are here today. 

I also want to acknowledge anyone with a lived or living experience of mental ill health and those bereaved by suicide for your generous contribution to improving the system of care here in Tasmania and right around the country. 

To my colleague, Bridget Archer, your local Member for Bass, to Senator Tammy Tyrrell.

I think it demonstrates to you, as Jason was saying, how mental health is approached in a collective way that we have Bridget and Tammy here today, I think demonstrates that right here in your hometown. Thank you for your support. 

To Jason and Kate from headspace, to Bill and Graham from PHN, to Phillip from Cornerstone. headspace’s work is based on collaboration and that's what's made today possible but also the work that you've been doing in this community for over 15 years.

Now, as you know in Australia today, there is an increasing distress amongst young people, and that might be expressed as sadness or loneliness or disconnection, and a welcome and a safe place like headspace gives them a place where they belong, and they can seek that help and support. As Reede was mentioning earlier, he's been able to work with headspace to be this incredible advocate that we have now on our national board. 

ABS data shows that 16 to 24-year-olds are experiencing the most mental ill health of any age bracket in Australian society. And it's increased since headspace was first founded, it was about 25%. 

It's a significant jump in through to today, and that's why we're working to strengthen and expand headspace services to respond to that increase in demand and that change in complexity.

And the Government has invested $290 million in the headspace network this year. And currently, as you may know, there's four headspace centres in Tasmania. We're working to establish a fifth headspace on the eastern shores of Hobart. And with the establishment of that headspace, there'll also be an early youth psychosis program, the first one established in Tasmania and a big step forward in that earlier intervention and support and care for people experiencing more complex mental ill health.

I think it's really important to also acknowledge what you've done so far in the 15 years that you've been working in this community, and to know that just this year, headspace Launceston has already provided over 5000 episodes of care to more than 700 young people and importantly, 373 new young people – people who for the first time have contacted headspace and been able to receive the support and care that they deserve close to home in a really welcoming and safe space.

In finishing, I just want to thank everybody for being here today. Looking around to all the faces in this room shows how much you care, how committed you are, and that's why headspace Launceston is the success that it has been and will be for the future. 

A particular thank you to the Youth Reference Group, to Reede, to Yasmin, in her absence, to Nina. It's only through youth reference groups that we will continue to refine and improve the headspace model to make sure that it meets the needs of young people now and into the future. And also to the staff, as a former mental health worker myself, I want to thank you for the work that you do and the contribution you make to supporting the lives of young people. 

To everybody here today, thank you and congratulations.

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