Young Australians across the Bellarine will now have easier access to mental health services when and where they need it most, with the opening of a new headspace satellite service this week.

One in four young Australians are affected by a mental illness every year. Many young people have also been substantially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, making it more important than ever to ensure access to youth mental health services.

The headspace program aims to improve access for young people aged 12 to 25 years who have, or are at risk of, mental illness. headspace provides free or low cost youth-friendly support in four key areas—mental health, related physical health, substance misuse, and social and vocational support.

This new headspace service is part of the Morrison Government’s $111.3 million funding commitment to establish 30 new headspace services.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said young people have been significantly affected by the impacts of bushfires, floods and COVID-19, and access to mental health services and support was more important than ever.

“headspace offers a safe, welcoming place where young people can get non-judgmental professional help and peer support and provides quality frontline support, ensuring the best possible care for people who are at risk,” Minister Hunt said.

“Our Government is committed to ensuring young Australians can get information, advice, counselling or treatment, when and where they need it.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said mental health and suicide prevention remained one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.

“To date, headspace has provided 3.6 million services to people around Australia, and we are committed to ensuring young Australians can continue to get information, advice, counselling or treatment, when and where they need it,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“In the 2021-22 Budget, we provided an additional $278.6 million to strengthen the national headspace network by establishing new services and significantly enhancing those that already exist to ensure young people get the support and care they need. This will bring the Government’s investments in the headspace network over the next four years to a record $873.2 million.”

Senator for Victoria, Senator Sarah Henderson said the official opening of the Ocean Grove site will provide localised, tailored support for young people close to home.

“There are more pressures on young people today than ever before and the expansion of headspace will be vitally important in providing additional services for young people in Ocean Grove,” Senator Henderson said.

“We know intervention at the earliest possible stage is important to reduce the duration and impact of mental illness, so I encourage young people in our community to reach out if they need help.

“This support for young people suffering mental health challenges will be very welcome in the Ocean Grove community and across the Bellarine.”

This headspace satellite service has been commissioned by the Western Victoria Primary Health Network and is designed to meet the needs of young people in Ocean Grove.

The Morrison Government continues to make mental health a national priority, investing a record $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through headspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or on their website.