Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester secured funding in last night’s Federal Budget for a specialised youth mental health service in Sale, describing it as a great win for the community.
Mr Chester backed a community campaign to establish a headspace service in Sale to provide free mental health support and specialised advice for people aged between 12 and 25.
Mr Chester has been able to deliver a new satellite headspace service in Sale, included in the Federal Budget. It will be funded under the $461 million national youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy, which includes 30 new headspace centres across Australia.
In February, the Federal Government also allocated an extra $2.5 million for mental health services in Gippsland to help ensure farmers have someone to talk to and discuss their situation.
“Too many young Australians are taking their own lives every year and we need to do more as a community and as a government to support them and make sure they can access help if they need it,” Mr Chester said.
“Local doctors, youth groups, concerned parents and the wider community said clearly there was significant unmet demand for youth mental health services in Sale.
“They’ve told me there is an urgent need for additional support for our young people. I’m pleased to secure an additional headspace service for Gippsland.”
After working with local doctors and the Health Minister to secure funding for headspace in Sale, Mr Chester last week received a petition with more than 1500 signatures from Sale mother Sharon Hall, her father Keith Parkins (who first proposed the idea of a petition) and Wellington Shire youth councillor Charlee Vernon.
Mrs Hall said the petition was placed in medical clinics across Sale, Maffra and Stratford and secondary schools in Sale and demonstrated the overwhelming community support for a local headspace service.
“We had a conversation at home about the fact there is little assistance available for young people in our area looking for this kind of support,” Mrs Hall said. “We all agreed that something needed to be done and Dad suggested we do something, rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
“I had hoped there might be something in the Federal Budget for us and am excited to hear that there was. It’s been a community effort with great support from the youth council.
“I hope we can move quickly so the young people in our area who desperately need help with their mental health and other issues can get support.”