Youth mental illness lifeline

By CRAIG McTEAR

YOUTH worker Sue Harvey is excited that better services are finally on their way for young people with mental illness.

Ms Harvey works at the Nambucca Valley Youth Services Centre, which has just been allocated $1.5 million from the Federal Government for a 'headspace' project on the Mid North Coast.

"As a youth worker, you hit your head against the wall because we haven't really been able to cater for young people with a mental illness in this region before," Ms Harvey said.

"Mental illness is really a huge problem here, and has been for a long, long time.

"This project will make a huge difference to young people in this region.

"It will mean that we can take services out to young people on a regular basis and we can form relationships with them. This will truly be a youth-friendly service."

The funding, which comes from the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, will help young people aged 12 to 25 in the Nambucca Valley, Bellingen and Coffs Harbour areas.

The headspace program, which will be administered from the Nambucca Valley Youth Services Centre, will call on the services of doctors, adolescent psychiatrists, drug and alcohol workers, and vocational support crews.

The youth services centre will also undergo a makeover to include consulting and clinic rooms and bigger areas for training and programs.

Administrative staff and project officers will also be appointed.

The member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said the funding would provide a health and mental health system in tune with the needs of young people with mental illness.

"It will be able to provide them with the variety of care they need," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Mental health is a major concern for young people in this region and around the nation, but young people in distress often find it very difficult to seek help, or to find it.

"This headspace service promises to be a breakthrough for young people and their families in my electorate who find themselves battling depression, anxiety, or other disorders."



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