Liberal Senator for New South Wales, Arthur Sinodinos announced that the Morrison Government will provide an additional $1.7 million over three years to headspace Newcastle.

“The new services will provide fast response psychological support to young people who come to the headspace service and are at risk of suicide or self-harm. It will also support people bereaved by suicide,” Senator Sinodinos said.

The funding will be provided to the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (PHN), which commissions mental health services in the region. The PHN will commence work immediately to expand headspace Newcastle’s current premises, with additional services expected to commence in April or May 2019.

Mr Richard Nankervis, CEO of the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network welcomed the announcement.

“The additional funding to headspace Newcastle will be used to expand premises, increase services and will provide a new specialised Youth Suicide and Self-Harm Program, providing fast response psychological support to young people at risk of suicide of self-harm,” said Mr Nankervis.

“headspace provides an important service to the community, designed for and with young people to help them in their time of need. One in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experiences mental illness in any given year, and we need to be able to support these young Australians.”

Stephen Hirneth, Clinical Psychologist, Service Manager of headspace Newcastle said “by providing easy access and resources, headspace wants to show that you never have to be alone in this journey.”

The new Youth Suicide and Self Harm Program will be provided through headspace by Hunter Primary Care, which has operated a similar program for people over 18 since 2008.

“headspace Newcastle has experienced growing demand for its services and growing complexity of patient needs; leading to waiting times for young people. I am pleased that we can move quickly to expand the service to meet demand and ensure that young people can obtain help when they need it,” said Senator Sinodinos.

Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP said “the Government is committed to providing the health services that Australians need, including mental health services. Providing sufficient mental health services for young people is critical, to save lives and improve lives.”

headspace is the Government’s preferred model of youth mental health service delivery. headspace centres provide early intervention services to 12 to 25 year olds with mild to moderate mental illness, using a holistic approach to promote wellbeing.

The funding announced today is in addition to the Government’s decision last October to provide an extra $51.8 million over four years to increase service delivery around Australia and continue operation of eheadspace services.