People in the Alice Springs region will soon have access to free, and culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing support in their own community.
Together, the Australian Government and Northern Territory Government are investing $11.5 million to establish and operate new adult and kids Head to Health services, which are expected to open in 2024.
The Head to Health services in Alice Springs will be safe and welcoming places for all people, with a strong focus on being culturally safe and responsive to meet the needs of First Nations people.
Head to Health services provide compassionate, flexible and high-quality mental health and wellbeing support from multidisciplinary care teams. People can be seen without an appointment, to get the services they need from a range of professionals, which may include First Nations health workers, psychologists, paediatricians, nurses, social workers and peer support workers.
The new Head to Health service for adults will provide short to medium-term care for people with moderate to severe levels of mental illness. This new service will take a holistic approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing, and provide immediate support and follow up for people who are in crisis or distress.
The new Head to Health Kids service will deliver culturally appropriate specialist therapeutic services for children ages 0 to 12 years, strengthening outcomes for children’s mental health and wellbeing and their families throughout the Central Australia region.
Both of these Head to Health services will be co-designed in close partnership with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and First Nations representatives, health professionals and service providers, as well as local communities, including people with lived and living experience of mental ill-health and families experiencing childhood difficulties.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister McBride:
“The Alice Springs adult and kids Head to Health services will ensure that people in distress can get culturally sensitive care from highly skilled healthcare professionals without large bills.
“We look forward to working with the Northern Territory Government and community to ensure these services are tailored to the needs of local communities so that no one is left behind in the care system.”
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister McCarthy:
“Making sure that Australians can access health, mental health and suicide prevention support wherever they live is a top priority for the Albanese Government.
“Working closely with First Nations health practitioners to deliver culturally safe mental health support is an important component of these new services, which will be a game changer for the Alice Springs community.”
Quotes attributable to Northern Territory Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Lauren Moss:
“The Territory Labor Government is working hard to improve mental health service capacity across the Territory.
“The new adult and kids Head to Health services in Alice Springs will bolster mental health support in the Central Australian region ensuring more Territorians have access to appropriate services within their own communities.”