Independent candidate for Cowper, Rob Oakeshott, spent time recently with the headspace team in Coffs Harbour and came away concerned that the impressive mental health service for young people is being pushed to its limits.
They are trying to deal with 100 new mental health clients a month and they need more support to do what we are all relying on them to do,” said Mr Oakeshott
“headspace is the front door to support, often the first door, for young people struggling to cope with range of issues like stress from relationships, study and employment support. In some cases it’s mild levels of psychological distress.
“But the real challenge that’s emerging is providing ongoing treatment for those with moderate to more severe mental health problems. 40% of headspace clients are now considered moderately to severely unwell,” Oakeshott said.
“headspace not being funded to deal with this increase in numbers requiring a greater level of care represents a challenge for the entire mental health support network — and the community.
“Young people identified as moderate to high risk, yet left without adequate treatment or support, will most often have their condition escalate quickly. It directly increases the risk of suicide and suicidal behaviour. That, in turn, leads to extra demands on emergency departments, and the resources of ambulance and police services,” said Oakeshott.
“More importantly, our community should not allow someone to suffer and endure ill-health that is, in many cases, treatable and manageable. Letting it happen creates a deepening pool of negative social and economic outcomes.
“Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the largest increase in suicide is among those under 25 years. The suicide rate for young women has gone up an alarming 75% over the past decade. This needs to change. It can change, if we give more comprehensive support at front line community level for programs like headspace,” Oakeshott said.
The above is a Press Release from Rob Oakeshott, Independent candidate for the federal seat of Cowper – Monday March 11 2019.