Campaign for youth mental health service

Consultation closing on 31 March 2017

Headspace members

Council is calling on the Federal Government to establish a headspace centre in Monash, so young people can get the help they need for problems affecting their wellbeing.

The Federal Government has announced funds for 10 new headspace centres across Australia, and a group of local organisations (including Council and Link Health and Community) believe one of these centres should be located in Monash.

With 100 centres across Australia, headspace provides early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds.

Young people in Monash have nominated mental health as the number one issue of concern to them and their friends, in discussions with Council's Youth Ambassadors.

However, at the moment young people in Monash wanting to access headspace services need to travel to Knox, Elsternwick, Dandenong, Bentleigh or Hawthorn. Travel times may be acting as a barrier to Monash people accessing headspace services.

To pledge your support for a headspace in Monash:

We encourage you to support our campaign on social media by posting your support, using the hashtag #headspace4monash.

Photo above: Mayor Rebecca Paterson with local young people.

More information

What do we know about young people?
Young people in Monash
Support for young people in Monash

What do we know about young people?

Adolescence is a time of rapid physical, emotional, cognitive and social development. Intensive brain remodelling is underway and this continues through to the mid 20s. Peer influences become an important driver and this can be challenging for family relationships. Culture, ethnicity, gender and sexuality become strong influences on the developing young person. Adolescence is marked by heightened emotional sensitivity and impulsive actions.

Care must be taken to guide and support young people to remain safe and engaged. Vulnerabilities can emerge which include social disengagement, mental health issues and extreme risk taking behaviours.

A youth mental health disorder (or condition) is when the thinking, mood or behaviour difficulties a young person experiences are persistent, severe and have a negative impact on their capacity to function at home, at school or among friends and peers (MindMatters, Module 4.2 Youth Mental Health Difficulties). This highlights the importance of early risk identification and intervention and the provision of school and community supports for personal growth through learning and skills development.

With the remarkable biological, psychological and social changes that occur during adolescence, this period represents a time of risk for mental health issues (MindMatters, Module 4.2 Youth Mental Health Difficulties).

The Facts from Beyond Blue - Youth Beyond Blue website

  • One in 16 young Australians is currently experiencing depression
  • One in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition
  • One in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents
  • Evidence suggests three in four adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24 and half by age 14.

The stats from the Mission Australia Youth Survey Report 2016

Data from the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2016 reports that the issues that are of personal concern to young people on a national level are:

  • Coping with stress was the top issue of concern, with 44.4% of respondents indicating that they were either extremely concerned (20.1%) or very concerned (24.3%) about this issue
  • School or study problems was a major concern for 37.8% (extremely concerned: 15.3%; very concerned: 22.5%) of young people
  • Body image was also an important issue of concern for 30.6% of respondents (extremely concerned: 13.0%; very concerned: 17.6%)
  • Around one in five respondents were either extremely concerned or very concerned about depression and family conflict.

Data from the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2016 reports that the most important issues in Australia today, according to young people, on a national level are:

  • Just over one quarter of young people identified alcohol and drugs (28.7%) and equity and discrimination (27.0%) as important issues in Australia today
  • One in five respondents identified mental health (20.6%) as a major issue
  • Compared to the past two years, alcohol and drugs and equity and discrimination have risen as issues of national concern among respondents.

Data from the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2016 reports that the issues that are of personal concern to young people at a state level are:

  • Coping with stress was the top issue of concern, with 45.8% of respondents from Victoria indicating that they were either extremely concerned (20.6%) or very concerned (25.2%) about this issue
  • School or study problems was a major concern for 36.2% (extremely concerned: 14.1%; very concerned: 22.1%) of young people
  • Body image was also an important issue of concern for 31.7% of respondents (extremely concerned: 12.6%; very concerned: 19.1%)
  • Around one in five respondents were either extremely concerned or very concerned about depression and family conflict.

Young People in Monash

Through consultation conducted in 2012 for the Monash Youth Plan 2013-2016, young people reported mental health as the biggest issue of concern. Mental health featured again in the top 5 issues of concern through consultation undertaken for the Children, Young People and Families Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2017.

Department of Health and Human Services Child First data for the inner east region indicates that Monash has the highest prevalence of child protection involvement, family violence issues, substance abuse and amongst the highest mental health issues. These risk factors place young people at greater risk of experiencing mental health issues.

The 2015 Resilience Survey was conducted in schools across Monash by Resilient Youth Australia in 2015. 3347 young people completed the survey with 54% of young people identified as having low to fair levels of Developmental Assets. Developmental Assets measure “the qualities, opportunities and conditions that characterise safe, happy and fulfilling lives of young people” (Resilient Youth Australia 2015).

The survey highlighted the challenges that the young people of Monash face. These are:

  • 33% of students are losing sleep through worry
  • 35% of female students have a low positive identity
  • 21% of students are not able to concentrate
  • 31% of students are constantly under strain
  • 29 of students are unhappy and depressed
  • 17% of young people surveys were considered to have an Acute level of mental health
  • 42% of students have been bullied
  • 55% of young people text between the hours of 10pm and 6am
  • 36% of students do not get 8 hours of sleep
  • 28% of young people respond in anger to text
  • 36% of young people do not feel that they have an adult that cares about them
  • 28% of students do not keep physically fit
  • 25% of students do not eat well
  • 30% of young people do not feel connected to their community
  • 35% of students do more than 2 hours of homework per night.

Support for Young People in Monash

Council provides a Youth and Family Service that offers prevention and early intervention services to young people aged 10-25 years through the facilitation of youth development programs and generalist youth worker support.

Counselling for young people can be accessed through the PS4kids program from Link Health and Community through funding provided by Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network. Link Heath and Community is the local drug and alcohol agency that supports Monash residents. Wavecare provides counselling and psychological services and this is funded through the Medicare Benefits Scheme or through a fee. Accesses to other psychological services are provided through private providers.

Currently, the closest headspace for young people in Monash is situated in Knox and other services operating from Hawthorn, Dandenong and Elsternwick. A specialised headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program (hYEPP) operates from Bentleigh.  An assessment of the current levels of accessibility of headspace services for Monash young people reveals that the current travel times via public transport for young people in Monash is prohibitive. It can take a young person, on average, 63 minutes to access a headspace centre via public transport from suburbs within Monash.

Monash young people currently face a range of systemic barriers to their access to mental health services, particularly those who are suffering from high levels of psychological distress that require intervention from tertiary services. For young people 10-25, Monash has three mental health catchments, each of which offers a different service mix.  Young people often are required to attend, Moorabbin, Dandenong or Box Hill to access services depending on their street address and postcode. Access to specialist Mental Health Services for Monash young people remain confusing and difficult for service users and professionals alike.

Improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes for Young People in Monash

Accessibility to mental health services continues to present as a significant barrier for young people in Monash. Whilst the municipality is well served by generalist services such Monash Youth and Family Services, Link Health and Community, and Wavecare, specific youth mental health services continue to be located outside the City of Monash.

A headspace service, located within Monash, would represent a significant improvement in young people’s capacity to seek support. 

The benefit

Improvements to mental health outcomes for young people will have a profound effect on the Monash community. Positive mental health has a direct correlation to a range of social, economic and personal benefits such as inclusion, reduced isolation, increased civic participation, as well as greater successes in maintaining employment and productivity. Young people with positive mental health can reduce the burden of disease and contributes to the vibrancy and connection of the whole community.

Advocacy

Monash Council has partnered with Link Health and Community to form a consortium of organisations committed to improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes for young people. The consortium includes a range of services that support young people’s mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.

Young people have been central to the advocacy for a headspace centre in Monash. The Pinewood Community Bank Young Leaders in partnership with Monash Youth and Family Services ran the 2014 Project Echo Campaign. Young people have run a Change.org campaign from this leadership group and collected 400 signatures. The Monash Young Person’s Reference Group have had representation in the headspace consortium run by Link Health and Community.

 

Location

Monash Civic Centre, 293 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley 3150 View Map

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