New headspace Centre Opens in Wonthaggi

A new headspace centre in Wonthaggi to support young people with mental illness opened its doors this week.

Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) has funded the new service with Relationships Australia Victoria appointed as the lead agency to deliver it across Bass Coast and South Gippsland, supported by a consortium of local services.

The centre had a “soft opening” on Wednesday 19 December, enabling young people, family members and professionals to drop in or call to find out about the services or make an appointment for 2 January 2019 onwards when the centre will be fully operational.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, welcomed the opening and said early intervention mental health services played a crucial role in developing health communities.

In 2016, there were 3,766 residents aged 15-24 in the Bass Coast Shire, with 3,817 residents of South Gippsland aged 15- 24 years.

Ms Proposch said youth in the Bass Coast and South Gippsland areas disproportionately experienced issues with mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and homelessness (including insecure housing or at risk of homelessness).

“Key concerns identified in youth consultations include issues such as mental health, bullying, alcohol, family violence and sexual health,” she said.

“Free or low cost mental, general and sexual health services as well as education and employment, and alcohol and other drug support services will be provided. The confidential services to be delivered at the new centre will include sexual assault counselling, group work, disability support, family counselling, vocational guidance and assistance with job seeking.”

The new centre is targeted at young people aged 12 to 25 years with, or at risk of, mild to moderate mental illness, through a comprehensive suite of early intervention mental health services.

Its services will be accessible, youth-friendly and integrated to provide mental health, general health, alcohol and other drug, and vocational support to young people. There will be a focus on reducing barriers that may prevent help-seeking and facilitating early access to services that meet the holistic needs of young people.

As well as the services being provided from a central hub in Wonthaggi and the four existing Youth Access Clinics in Foster, Korumburra, Leongatha and Wonthaggi, an additional Youth Assist Clinic will be established on Phillip Island.

The centre will be closed over the holiday period, from 6pm Friday 21 December 2018, re-opening 10am on Wednesday 2 January 2019.

Young people needing assistance during the holiday period can contact:

  • Phone: 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline. Phone: 1800 55 1800
  • eheadspace at headspace.org.au/eheadspace

Meanwhile a formal launch for headspace Wonthaggi is planned for early 2019.

For more details, contact Jade Sarna, Communications Manager on 0428 091 517 or jade.sarna@gphn.org.au