Labor invests in ‘Headspace’ services

Ten new youth mental health centres would be established across the country every year for the next three years if the Labor government is re-elected, Health Minister Nicola Roxon says.

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The first 10 new Headspace services where young people can seek advice and help about mental health issues would be located at two sites in both NSW and Victoria, three in Queensland and one each in Tasmania, Perth and South Australia.

Ms Roxon has previously announced the government would expand its Headspace service to 30 new sites, doubling the number of places where young people can seek advice and help about mental health issues.

She said opening 10 new sites a year was a realistic target.

“We don’t think that you can demand of organisations that they can instantly double their services as much as people would like that to happen,” Ms Roxon told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

“Having 30 over the next three years, 10 each year, is growing in an orderly way which we believe will be manageable.

“We’ll certainly work with Headspace closely if they think that more can come on line more quickly.”

The first 10 new sites will include metropolitan centres in Melbourne’s Collingwood, Sydney’s Parramatta, Inala and Nundah in Brisbane, and Hobart and Perth.

Regional areas to benefit from the sites include Shoalhaven in NSW, Bendigo in Victoria, Cairns in Queensland and Noarlunga in South Australia.

Headspace chief executive Chris Tanti said it was important to establish a second site in Tasmania, with the first in Launceston, as the state has the highest rate of suicide among young women and the second highest for young men.

The Brisbane centres will be the first in a capital city.

“That city is the largest growth area in Queensland, while the state itself has the highest rate of suicides amongst young men in the country,” Mr Tanti said in a statement.

The opposition has pledged to provide 80 new mental health services, including 60 additional Headspace sites, if it is elected.