Headspace satellite office proposal awaits Primary Health Network approval for Tomaree Peninsula

Troubled youths might soon be able to drop into a Headspace on the Tomaree Peninsula.

The youth mental health initiative on the most basic level gives teens and young adults some time out but it also has the capacity to refer clients for more targeted help.

Headspace Maitland clinical services integration manager Felicity Scott lodged a proposal with the Primary Health Network in late 2016 to establish a satellite facility on the Peninsula.

“The issues that end of Port Stephens experiences is similar to those that other areas with a high youth population face,” she said.

“We work on the premise that if you can get onto mental health issues early the outcomes are much better.

“It can make the difference between someone who progresses to a full-blown mental health issue or not.”

Ms Scott was among the 500 people who attended the Lifting the Lid forum on mental illness at Nelson Bay on May 4.

“Transport being one of the major issues in the area it makes it important to take the services to these youths,” she said.

SOFT LANDING: Headspace provides a safe space for youths who need some time out or counselling. These are among the facilities at Headspace Maitland which wants to bring services to Tomaree. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SOFT LANDING: Headspace provides a safe space for youths who need some time out or counselling. These are among the facilities at Headspace Maitland which wants to bring services to Tomaree. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“Port Stephens is very fortunate though that it has COPSY (Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth) rallying to provide what it can to the best of its abilities.”

Lifting the Lid organiser Don McDonald said Headspace would have the support of many people at the forum.

“Even if it’s only a satellite it would be a start,” he said.

“These things need to be pursued so we as a community can really get behind mental health which is such a challenge to the community.” 

Mr McDonald said the schools clearly understood the challenges at hand.

Both St Philips Christian College and Tomaree High School hosted mental health presentations on May 5, the night after lifting the lid.

“We all need to look after one another and that includes our youths,” Mr McDonald said.

“One of the messages to children was that if a friend is exhibiting some bizarre behaviour, you shouldn’t shun them, you should embrace them.

“It’s also important that children don’t take illicit drugs because the brain is such a complex thing and those substances can really place young people at risk.” 

Ms Scott was hopeful there might be some positive news soon.

“We’re just awaiting word from the [federal] government now the budget has been announced,” she said.

“We’re hopeful we might know more in the coming weeks.”