Funding for headspace centres


Ash Bolt

Young people living in Bannockburn and Geelong’s northern suburbs will have easier access to mental health services, if the Liberal government is re-elected this month.

The Liberal Party has committed $6.2 million over four years to establish a new headspace satellite service in Bannockburn and to upgrade Corio’s satellite service to a headspace centre.

The headspace program provides free or low-cost mental health, social and vocational support services for young people aged 12 to 25.

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

“One in four young Australians are affected by a mental illness every year, and we know many young people have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“Young people in Geelong’s north and surrounding regions will have ongoing access to headspace, which provides a welcoming place for professional help and peer support for young people at risk.”

The new headspace services in Corio and Bannockburn are in addition to the headspace sites in Geelong and Ocean Grove, and the Head to Health adult mental health centre which open late last year.

Liberal candidate for Corio Manish Patel said the Corio centre would boost access to vital health care in an area that was experiencing a significant demand for services.

“Importantly, headspace services are designed by and for young people to provide services in a way that works for them, ensuring that young people face fewer barriers to accessing holistic support for mental health, physical health, alcohol and other drug use, and social and vocational challenges,” he said.

Liberal candidate for Corangamite Stephanie Asher said the Bannockburn service also recognised a growing need for support.

The new headspace services in Corio and Bannockburn will be commissioned by the Western Victoria Primary Health Network, with the new funding commencing 2022-23. The PHN will consult with the community to determine the exact locations and ensure that the services provide support in a way that meets their needs.

The commitment comes after Corangamite MP Libby Coker announced Labor would commit $4.8 million to establish a headspace centre in Armstrong Creek, servicing the Surf Coast and Armstrong Creek growth areas.