North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) has expanded the reach of youth mental health services and also transitioned the management of Lismore headspace to Social Futures.

The Commonwealth Government has provided funding of $1.378m over 18 months for the ongoing operation of the Lismore headspace centre and to expand youth mental health services in Casino and Kyogle.

The official handover and expansion of headspace was celebrated at an event held last Thursday 9 March at Lismore headspace, 2a Carrington St, Lismore.

headspace offers a welcoming space for young people aged 12 to 25 to come and talk to health professionals about depression, anxiety, bullying and relationship problems, as well as other issues of concern. The centre coordinates a range of health care, offering mental health support, counselling, general health, sexual health and drug and alcohol services. In addition, community services such as education and employment support are available at headspace.

NCPHN is funding headspace centres on the North Coast to improve access to youth mental health services in smaller towns that experience the highest level of disadvantage.

NCPHN’s Chief Executive Dr Vahid Saberi said that NCPHN was building on the strengths of headspace to ensure that young people in our region have easy access to holistic, multidisciplinary mental health care.

“Children living in disadvantaged families are three times more likely than those in more advantaged families to suffer from mental health disorders. Our local headspace centres reach out to outlying communities wherever possible.

“However, this funding is part of NCPHN’s strategic approach and commitment to support those communities most in need,” he said.

NCPHN’s Director of Mental Health Reform and Integration Dr Megan Lawrance said that up to now access to mental health services for young people in smaller towns had been limited.

“The lack of access to mental health services for youth living in smaller towns is a known health gap. Accessing services in larger neighbouring towns is hard for young people who often have limited access to transport. As a commissioner, NCPHN addresses such gaps and works with organisations best placed to improve the health system.

“Social Futures role in this work is a terrific local example of how NCPHN is working strategically to improve youth mental health services in particular communities,” she said.

Social Futures has received funding of $150,000 to work with organisations, young people and their families, health professionals and the broader community to come up with effective solutions to the particular youth mental health needs in Casino and Kyogle.

Transition of Lismore headspace to Social Futures was completed at the end of last year and the centre has been run by the new lead agency since January 3.

Dr Saberi said that Social Futures and NCPHN had worked closely and cooperatively to ensure a smooth transition for both clients and employees.

“Social Futures provide a broad range of community and health services. They have a strong track record in our region of supporting young people and their families and were a good fit to take over headspace,” he added.

CEO of Social Futures Mr Tony Davies said he was excited to be part of a new chapter of headspace, building on the work done by North Coast Primary Health Network in establishing and running the centre since 2014.

“The headspace centre has strong synergies with our existing services. Our new role as Lismore headspace lead agency will see us providing comprehensive youth and family services. My team and I are looking forward to having both the community and schools more involved with Lismore headspace,” he added.


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