Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he is very pleased to announce a Federal Government investment of $600,000 for a new and innovative flying headspace model based out of Port Augusta to provide young people in the outback with mental health support.
Mr Ramsey said Headspace will collaborate with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and deliver services from their clinic sites at Maree and Oodnadatta.
“The demand for mental health services does not cease when you leave a built up area and how we deliver the best services possible to remote areas is a challenge,” he said. “However, what we do know is that the RFDS has been the pre-emminent provider of travelling remote health services for 90 years. It stands to reason that we should turn to them to extend mental health care services.
“By comparison headspace is realtively young having been established by the Howard Government and now grown to more 115 centres Australia-wide. With the addition of this service and the recently announced service in Port Lincoln we will now have four in Grey.
“With the budget providing $111 million for additional headspace units I am lobbying hard for sites at Port Pirie and the Copper Coast.
“Headspace which is funded through SA Country Primary Health Network, is doing great work and we know if we can help young people early it is much more likely we can rectify their issues and improve their life. The service provides a double edged benefit, with healthier, happier, more productive people contributing far more to Australia’s future.
“Headspace is the obvious choice to partner with the RFDS.
“It can be difficult to provided specialised services for small populations, their needs are often complex, multiple and multi-generational and every bit as important as those who live in populated areas. This partnership is certainly an exciting outcome.”
Acting Primary Care Manager RFDS Port Augusta Base Mandy Smallacombe said the RFDS exists to provide the finest care to support healthy, happier Australians, no matter where you live, work and play.
“We have been on a course of expanding our mental health care team on the back of an increased funding commitment from the Commonwealth Government, which is greatly needed in outback communities,” she said.
“We also identified an outstanding gap in specialist support for adolescent and young people, which working in partnership with Country SA Primary Heath Network and Headspace we can now help to address in these communities.”
One in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 years experiences mental ill-health in any given year and three quarters of all mental illness first manifests in people under the age of 25.
Mr Ramsey said the government is prioritising better mental health for all Australians with a record $4.7 billion expected to be spent on mental health this financial year alone.
“The Flying Headspace is part of a $461m national strategy complementing a comprehensive Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan announced in the Budget and represents the single largest investment in youth suicide prevention in Australia’s history.” he said.