Esperance youth would benefit from a more ‘stable funding base’ in regards to mental health services, according to Western Australian Association for Mental Health board president Kerry Hawkins.
Ms Hawkins said although the demand for community mental health services was especially present in regional centres, funding for it remains ‘comparatively less’ than for other health issues.
“Any investment in prevention is money well spent,” she said.
“Supporting greater mental health literacy among all people in our community, teaching people to identify early warning signs of mental health issues in young people, and reducing the stigma around seeking help, are all important factors.
“However, there is also a particular need to invest more in community services for all people with mental health issues, including young people, to reduce reliance on expensive acute treatment – to catch people before it gets to crisis point.”
The statement comes just weeks after the federal government announced a $110 million funding boost for youth mental health services.
The funding was distributed to a number of organisations and services, with $46 million allocated to beyondblue’s school-based ‘Mental Health in Education’ initiative, $16 million for ‘Emerging Minds’ and their Child Mental Health program and $30 million for the headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation’s national program.
Currently the closest headspace is in Kalgoorlie, around 400 kilometres from the Esperance town centre.
Federal MP Rick Wilson said while there was no physical headspace office in Esperance, the Government had developed the eheadspace service, providing support to youth in O’Connor regardless of their location.
“We recognise that mental health impacts millions of people every year, including our youth, which is why we’re investing more money into support services for young Australians,” he said.
“All clinical and non-clinical professionals and services in the Esperance region that work with children are now able to access the National Workforce Centre.”
According to headspace, when it comes to deciding the location of headspace centres across Australia, it is the jurisdiction of the Federal Health Minister and Federal Department of Health.
For youth crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.