YOUNG people in Wellington Shire will soon have access to specialised mental health support delivered online by a new Headspace satellite in Sale, as soon as the end of this month.
The service will provide free or low-cost support for young people aged between 12 and 25 to help with challenges, questions or concerns about their mental health, alcohol and other drug issues, physical and sexual health, and relationships.
Headspace Sale will operate three days a week, initially providing telephone and video services before face-to-face services begin in August, when the satellite site in Raymond St opens its doors.
As lead agency for the service, Relationships Australia Victoria is well placed to lead Headspace Sale, with the organisation having extensive experience delivering youth mental health services through existing headspace centres in Bairnsdale, and in Wonthaggi and through five outreach locations across South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires.
It has also been delivering its specialised i-Connect Family Mental Health Support Service for children and young people in east Gippsland since 2014.
Relationships Australia Victoria chief executive Dr Andrew Bickerdike said the Sale community had advocated strongly for, and was “very supportive of this new satellite”.
“It’s been a difficult six months for these communities as a result of the recent east Gippsland bushfires and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the services available at Headspace Sale will enable young people and their families in Sale and surrounding areas to access much-needed support,” he said.
Gippsland MHR Darren Chester added more needed to be done to support young people and make sure they could get help when they needed it.
“Local doctors, youth groups, concerned parents and the wider community said clearly there was significant unmet demand for youth mental health services in Sale and an urgent need for additional support for our young people,” Mr Chester said.
“There will be many people who’ll be relieved this new service is now operational.”
Headspace Sale, a satellite site attached to the existing Headspace parent centre in Bairnsdale, is being operated in partnership with 11 local service providers comprising the headspace Bairnsdale Consortium, and with the support of contract manager Gippsland Primary Health Network.
Gippsland PHN chief executive Amanda Proposch said the specialised support delivered through Headspace Sale would complement other important mental health services for young people across Wellington Shire, adding the local community recognised the need for this service, and the Australian government had enabled its establishment through Gippsland PHN.
“The Headspace service will ensure that young people have access to support for a variety of mental health and other physical health services, delivered from the one location,” she said.
Headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan recognised what an important development Headspace Sale was for the local community.
“We are thrilled that Headspace Sale will be there to support young people from across the region to get through tough times and get back on track,” he said.
The satellite is being developed with the input of a group of young people who are Wellington Shire youth councillors.
A youth advisory group will also be established to inform the ongoing operation of the service.
Wellington Shire youth councillor Ellie McGregor said having a Headspace in Sale would deliver greatly-needed and appreciated services to young people in the shire.
“We are super excited to see this happen,” she said.
Headspace Sale will operate on Tuesdays from noon to 8pm, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 6pm.
For information and support, phone 0458 558 225 or email info@ headspacesale.org.au.