headspace Hurstville welcomes talks to improve mental health reach

Collaboration: Headspace Hurstville team with Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Deborah O'Neill. Picture: John Veage
Collaboration: Headspace Hurstville team with Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Deborah O'Neill. Picture: John Veage

The valuable and necessary work that headspace Hurstville provides was on show this week when government representatives met with community workers.

The tour was part of a nationwide mission to see how to best address mental health issues in culturally diverse areas.

Headspace provides free stress management, schooling, substance abuse management and prevention, sexuality and relationships, bullying and financial struggles.

Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Innovation, Deborah O’Neill, visited the community centre on April 11, with Labor candidate Chris Gambian.

Headspace operations manager Sonja Vidic said a key point of discussion was the collaborative role headspace played with other services.

“We have a close working relationship with our community partners who have supported us greatly in assisting young people in the Hurstville area,” she said. 

“We discussed the role of our young volunteer group in advocating for and representing the needs of local young people.”

Ms Vidic says headspace’s priorities this year include continuing to engage with general practitioners about mental health, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQI) communities, exploring the potential for running therapy and non-therapy groups, and provide training opportunities for young volunteers.

She said more funding was needed for the increased need of eating disorder specialised services and clinicians, trauma services and youth education and employment.

Ms Vidic said headspace was achieving strong results in the community.

“Our services have been well-utilised by young people,” she said.

“Our greatest achievement is our amazing team who continue to show a positive outcomes.

“We have been successful in obtaining a grant to run a number of clinical groups. 

“We work closely with schools, businesses and community groups to raise awareness, reduce mental health stigma and promote help seeking among young people going through a difficult time.”

Senator O’Neill says the headspace model is impressive, mainly due to its work within a diverse community.

“I value the amazing and tireless work undertaken by mental health professionals at headspace Hurstville,” she said.

“To go out and speak with the mental health experts, and in particular with young people accessing services, helps grow our knowledge as Labor continues to develop policy.

“We know that when a young person puts their hand up for help we need to work to ensure there are appropriate mental health services for them to access.

“It’s clear that the demand for youth mental health services is growing not declining.

“There are challenges that are ultimately impacting on headspace’s ability to deliver the early intervention services for which they are purposed and designed.”