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A new report highlighting the stress of drought on young people further strengthens the case for headspace to be established in the Wellington Shire, according to Federal MP Darren Chester.

Mr Chester has made formal representations to the Minister for Health seeking to make Sale a priority for future expansion of the national network of headspace services.

He said the new report by UNICEF titled ‘In their own words: the hidden impact of prolonged drought on children and young people’ further strengthened the case to provide specialised mental health services for young people in the Wellington Shire.

“The UNICEF report brings to the fore the specific ways in which children and young people are being impacted by the drought and looks at ways to protect children and take action to strengthen the broader response,” Mr Chester said.

“Among the recommendations being made by UNICEF is targeted funding and service delivery to meet the mental health needs of younger people who are impacted by drought and natural disasters.

“I have been in touch with local doctors, youth groups and concerned residents who agree that there is significant unmet demand for youth mental services in Sale and I am fully supporting the community campaign to establish a headspace service.

“The community has made it clear that it is a local priority to have a headspace service which can provide free and specialised advice to young people with mental health concerns.

“I will continue to work alongside my Federal colleagues to reiterate the need in Wellington Shire and the benefits that would come from opening a headspace service in Sale.”

Mr Chester said he had made formal representations to the Minister for Health after meeting with local doctors and had also provided further correspondence on behalf of the Wellington Shire Youth Council.

Mr Chester said he would also provide the Minister with a copy of the headspace petition currently located in medical clinics across Sale, Maffra and Stratford to further demonstrate the overwhelming community support.

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