headspace is a specialist program providing early intervention mental and related physical health services to young people and young families. This is a significant win for young people and young families, as well as the community of Melton, as stated by NWMPHN CEO Adj/Associate Professor Christopher Carter:
"Melton has the highest rates of psychological distress of any local government area in Victoria, with 20.7% of people reporting high or very high psychological distress – nearly double the state average." -- New headspace service to boost youth mental health in Melton
The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) has announced that a consortium led by Odyssey House Victoria will establish and operate the new facility for 12 – 25 year-olds this year. Hope Street is committed to this valuable initiative and in working in partnership to ensure young people in the municipality receive the support required as a part of an integrated and holistic youth centred response. CEO Donna Bennett highlighted that:
“Significant numbers of young people who experience homelessness also experience mental health issues. The experience of homelessness is itself traumatic and this critical youth focused mental health program will make a meaningful difference to the lives of young people and their children in Melton.”
Hope Street, as a leading youth specialist organisation, knows that mental health issues experienced by young people are a major cause of family breakdown, social disconnection, disengagement from school and their local community. If not addressed early a young person’s experience of mental health is likely to continue into adulthood contributing to long term homelessness and associated disadvantage.
Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Federal Member for Gorton, indicates that young people in Melton are at a particular disadvantage:
"This youth mental health service is something our community needs and deserves. Mental health issues affect many young people, and previously those who live in Melton and surrounding areas have had to travel too far to access the services they need." -- Melton headspace tender announced (article on Brendan O'Connor's website no longer available)
Delivering appropriate services and supports within the Melton region is crucial, according to NWMPHN Chair Dr Ines Rio:
"Demand for mental health services is also likely to increase rapidly, with around 15,000 more young people aged 12-25 expected to come in to the area in the next decade.
"headspace Melton will boost the capacity and capability of local services to cope with this growth and better support the mental health needs of local young people through a safe, integrated and welcoming environment." -- Odyssey House Victoria consortium to establish and operate Melton headspace