Paul Burke with chair of Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network Ron Petterson who said the satellite headspace would fill a vital gap in the region.
Paul Burke with chair of Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network Ron Petterson who said the satellite headspace would fill a vital gap in the region.

New Whitsundays mental health service a ‘necessity’

THE arrival of the Whitsundays’ own headspace is edging closer with mental health advocates saying the service is “a necessity” for the region’s youth, particularly in the face of COVID-19.

The Federal Government announced it would be providing greater access to mental health and support services in the region, through headspace and the Youth Mental Health Foundation in April 2019.

Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford was last week appointed to the steering committee of the satellite service that will be set up in Cannonvale.

Cr Clifford was “honoured” to be appointed to the committee and said the headspace would be a “great facility and a great service for the Whitsundays”.

“It’s going to give our young people almost immediate access to mental health assistance,” she said.

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A spokesman from Northern Australia Primary Health Limited said they were in the “advanced stages” of establishing satellite headspace office in the Whitsundays with a location set to be announced soon.

“A thorough community consultation process is underway, and meetings are taking place across the Whitsunday region with local youth and key stakeholders,” he said.

“Information is being gathered regarding the most beneficial service delivery model to ensure youth in the Whitsunday region have access to the services they need in an easy-to-access location.

“Possible locations that are youth friendly and easily accessible by young people in the community are being scoped out. A location for the Whitsunday satellite office is close to being secured and we expect to be able to announce that location soon.”

The closest headspace facilities for young people in the Whitsundays are located in Mackay and Townsville.

Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network chairman Ron Petterson said the new service would fill a gap that existed within the region and provide young people with a “fundamental” service.

Executive officer of Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre Rebecca Woods said a headspace would provide support for the Whitsunday youth, especially in the face of the coronavirus.
Executive officer of Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre Rebecca Woods said a headspace would provide support for the Whitsunday youth, especially in the face of the coronavirus.

“We have a growing population here … we are now seeing a greater demographic of that younger age group here than ever before,” he said.

“To have a key service that specialises in that age group is a necessity in any community.

“To have a headspace here is going to be a fantastic service to our community, not just for the young people but for peace of mind to parents to know that their child is getting the service they need.”

Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre’s executive officer Rebecca Woods said the service was especially vital with the increased pressure COVID-19 had placed on younger people’s schooling and social lives.

“Covid has brought a whole lot more issues to our youth, particularly seniors,” she said.

“It’s really impacting on them. With Year 12s this year there’s a lot of uncertainty.

“They’ve been told for so long that their scores and marks need to be at their peak and they need to perform their best … and then you throw things like Covid and homeschooling in the mix.

“It’s really imperative that we get that support to our region as soon as possible.”


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