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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2877


Mr GRIFFIN (Bruce) (10:26): I am not sure how I follow that. Last night I, and a number of other members, had the privilege of attending a reception for headspace here in Parliament House. Established in 2006, headspace is a national youth mental health foundation which provides early intervention mental health services to young people aged between 12 and 25. Each year headspace is improving the health and wellbeing of thousands of young people and their families by supporting young people to take control of their lives and get help for the challenges they face. Headspace is designed to make it as easy as possible for a young person and their family to get the help they need for problems affecting their wellbeing. Centres give young people the assistance they need to get back on their feet, get through tough times and reach their full potential.

Each headspace centre delivers support to young people in four areas—mental health, primary health including sexual health, drug and alcohol support, vocational support. The look and feel of headspace centres are designed to create an environment that young people feel comfortable to access. All services are free, confidential and youth friendly. A range of workers is available at headspace centres, including GPs, psychiatrists, mental health workers, psychologists, social workers, alcohol and other drug workers and vocational workers—all of whom have specific expertise working with young people.

Research shows that 75 per cent of mental health disorders emerge before the age of 25. By treating these issues early and providing a holistic model of support, the risk of young people developing more serious problems, including suicide, is greatly decreased. The success of headspace has been recognised internationally, with the model being replicated in other countries. There is a headspace centre in the Bruce electorate, in Dandenong, which offers help to young people if they are feeling down, stressed or worried or are having difficulty with something in their life. They might need help with a health issue or have concerns about alcohol and drugs; or want to talk about sexual identity or relationships or want to discuss sexual health or want to find out about contraception; or are being bullied hurt or harassed; or need advice about education of finding work; or, perhaps, have worries about a friend or a family member.

Headspace Dandenong provides a range of services, including counselling support and individual development and group programs, as well as GP services. This sort of help has a huge effect on their ability to stay in school, hold down a job and maintain positive interactions with their friends and family. Some 92 per cent of young people using headspace centres reported improvements in their mental health after using headspace. In October the Abbott government, to their credit, announced they would establish an additional 15 headspace centres. Building on Labor's election commitment of $34 million to establish 10 more headspace centres by 2014-15, these 15 additional centres take the total number of centres around the country to 100. It was a great privilege for me to attend the opening of headspace when the then minister, Mark Butler, came to Dandenong. At the launch, I was joined by the then member for La Trobe: Laura Smyth, and the member for Holt, Anthony Byrne. I would like to put on record the excellent work that they did in advocating for that centre at that time. This is a great service and it is great to see it being supported.