Date published: 
23 February 2017
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Grafton will be the first location in Australia to get one of ten new headspace youth mental health services, providing an increase in support available to young people and their families during times of need.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, were joined by headspace’s CEO Jason Trethowan and Professor Pat McGorry AO in Grafton for the announcement today.

“Today I visited Grafton and spoke with families, suicide prevention advocates and clinical service providers to better understand the issues facing the community,” Minister Hunt said.

“The recent loss to suicide of so many young lives in the region is an immense tragedy. These deaths have had a marked impact on family, friends and the community.”

Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, said the Grafton and Clarence Valley communities will benefit from this new headspace.

“The expansion of these early intervention services to additional regional and rural locations was announced during last year’s federal election and we are delivering on this commitment,” Mr Hogan said.

headspace is well established throughout the country and takes a holistic approach to mental health support, taking into account young people’s physical health, alcohol and drug use and providing social and vocational support.

There will also be a new $600,000 investment through the North Coast Primary Health Network in suicide prevention initiatives.

This investment will be delivered by local organisations that will provide more immediate support with programs and services tailored to local needs, including:

  • Mental Health First Aid, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to community members and other relevant organisations and individuals within the Clarence Valley.
  • Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid, Aboriginal Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Mental Health First Aid for the Suicidal Person to Aboriginal community members and workers, ASIST training for frontline staff, and advanced skills training for GPs and other clinicians working with Aboriginal people.
  • A program to support the community and families following a tragedy such as suicide.

The Clarence Valley will also receive additional psychiatric services.

A child psychiatrist will offer services twice a month, starting within six weeks, and existing adult psychiatry services will also be expanded within the coming months.

Today we also launched “Our Healthy Clarence” (the Clarence Valley Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan).

“I want to acknowledge the work and commitment of the Clarence Valley community, which has been working with the North Coast Primary Health Network since last August on ways to reduce suicide,” Minister Hunt said.

“The Plan is the culmination of these efforts, with a strong emphasis on raising awareness of the issues and where people can seek help, early intervention strategies, and improved support services for individuals and the community.”

Early intervention remains the key to reducing the impact and duration of mental illness, which affects one in four young Australians, aged between 16 and 24, a year.

“I want all young people to realise their potential, and understand that it’s okay to ask for help with their problems if they need it,” Mr Hogan said.

“I want them, and their families, to feel supported and I will continue to work with our community on programs that will save lives.”

While this new headspace centre in Grafton is being established, young people can use headspace’s national online service, and its telephone counselling and referral service, available on 1800 650 890.