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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the start of a new youth mental health service for Sale and the surrounding areas.

Mr Chester said services were due to be available online three days a week through headspace Sale later this month.

“The beginning of this much-needed service for Sale is testament to the effectiveness of our community in drawing attention to the issues and challenges facing young people,” Mr Chester said.

“We were told clearly there was an unmet demand for youth mental health services and an urgent need for additional support.”

Sale’s headspace will begin by providing specialised advice for clients aged between 12 and 25 using telephone and video services. Face-to-face sessions are expected to start in August.

Young people will be able to get help with questions and concerns about mental health, drug and alcohol issues, general and sexual health, and relationships.

Mr Chester said more needed to be done to support local youth.

“Too many young Australians are taking their own lives every year. We need to make sure they can access help if and when they need it,” Mr Chester said.

“There are people in our community, including students, employees and job seekers, are feeling stressed and anxious right now, so I am sure they will be glad the new service will soon be operational.

“The headspace premises are centrally located in Sale and it will be much easier for young people to reach in comparison to travelling to either Bairnsdale or the Latrobe Valley.”

The new headspace service in Sale is a ‘satellite site’, which is a service managed by an existing established headspace centre known as a ‘parent centre’. Bairnsdale’s headspace will be the parent centre for Sale.

Mr Chester secured funding for the Sale service in last year’s Federal Budget as part of the $461 million national youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy.

Relationships Australia Victoria won the tender to operate the Sale service. It also operates headspace in Bairnsdale and Wonthaggi, and outreach locations in South Gippsland and Bass Coast.

The Sale service will operate from premises in Raymond Street, across the road from the Aldi supermarket.

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