Media Response Headspace

Questions and Responses 

Just seeking some more information re what the Mayor spoke about at the last council meeting regarding Headspace.

I was hoping to get some comment regarding:

Why is this such an important topic to him?

Our young people have repeatedly told us that mental health issues are their biggest concern and Council is strongly pursuing and advocating for its own service in Monash to address the needs of our young people. I believe it’s a critical service for our young people, they are crying out for this support.  We want our young people to feel safe, connected and confident so their social and mental health improves, and they can live full and happy lives.

 How many people are affected by this in Monash?

The 2017 Resilient Youth Australia Survey was conducted in schools across Monash with 9,600 students taking part. The results were overwhelming - mental health issues were the respondents’ biggest concern. The results were of great concern to us. The survey found that:

·         18% of females and 16% males have acute mental health issues

·         54% of young people have low to fair levels of resilience

·          36% of students are losing sleep through worry

·          31% are unhappy and depressed

·         37% feel constantly under strain

 Why having one in Monash is so important (versus the one in Knox)?

To access a headspace service, young people in Monash currently have to travel to another municipality ­– either Knox, Boroondara, Glen Eira or Greater Dandenong. Many of these young people are experiencing family breakdowns or have parents and carers that cannot support them in accessing these services. For those who do travel to visit a headspace, they are looking at an average travel time on public transport of 63 minutes. Given that most headspace services close at 6pm, there is a very narrow window of opportunity if you’re at school or working and have to travel more than an hour to seek help.

Are there any other services or groups which may be impacted/benefited by the presence of a Headspace in Monash?

We feel that a headspace or a dedicated mental health service located within Monash will be of great benefit to the community as a whole. When young people have access to services that support them to address mental health issues, they reduce the likelihood of contracting diseases, they will have improved well-being and generally provide a greater contribution to the vibrancy and connectedness of the whole community.

Our community has really rallied in support of improving young people’s mental health including great support and advocacy from Link Health and Community and our Monash Youth Services team and the youth and families they engage with. But we can and must do more to get the help we need.

It is with huge disappointment that we have just been informed by the Federal Minister for Health’s office that Monash has not been included in the latest round of  funding for headspace services.

This is gut-wrenching, especially after I travelled to Canberra with our Director Community Services and Development Julie Salomon, at the invitation of the Health Minister Greg Hunt, to meet with his senior mental health adviser Dr Michael Gardner in February. We had high hopes after this meeting and are frustrated that the pleas of our young people for help go unanswered.

Provided to: Monash Leader

Date: 12 April 2018

Quoting: Mayor Paul Klisaris.