Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth's Jupiter program spreading its wings to Tanilba Bay

PARTNERSHIP: Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre manager Georgina Scott with Jupiter counsellor Paul Pearton.
PARTNERSHIP: Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre manager Georgina Scott with Jupiter counsellor Paul Pearton.

Jupiter, the free youth counselling support service, has plans to expand its program into the Tilligerry peninsula.

Counsellor Paul Pearton said a demand for youth counselling had presented Jupiter with an opportunity to open a service in Tanilba Bay similar to that run at the Salamander Bay community centre.

"This will be run in partnership with the Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre and will be a great asset for the Tilligerry community," Mr Pearton said.

Neighbourhood centre manager Georgina Scott said that counselling and emergency relief services could operate from the new centre.

Supporting the proposal is former Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie, who has agreed to the use of premises he owns in the Kooindah Centre for two years rent free.

"Not enough is being done by our politicians on mental health. I am happy to support this most worthwhile service," he said.

Jupiter, run under the umbrella of COPSY (Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth), has been offering free counselling to youth on the Tomaree peninsula since March 2019.

COPSY president John Deridder said that online services had become commonplace following the COVID restrictions.

"We closed our rooms in the community centre during April and May and have adopted 'Teleportation' [similar to a video teleport session] to keep the service going. Now we can offer online and face to face counselling."

Mr Pearton said there had been a 69 per cent increase in referrals to Jupiter in the last four months compared to the same period last year.

With a growing staff, COPSY is seeking more funding and any interested bodies can go to jupiter.org.au or phone 0490 716 265.

Jupiter is not a crisis service. Phone the mental health line on 1800 011 511 or Lifeline 13 11 14.