Katoomba headspace celebrates one year of helping local young people

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

headspace Katoomba is celebrating its first birthday and one year on, it continues to work with  young people in the community to ensure better mental health outcomes. 

Over the past year, 380 young Blue Mountains locals have received vital mental health support  through the Katoomba service. The centre has provided young people support in mental health,  work and study, as well as alcohol and other drugs. 

headspace is a unique service in that it gives young people a voice and encourages them to play  an active role in shaping the services and spaces that young people access for mental health  support. 

One of the main aspects of this goal is the Youth Advisory Committee. The committee are young,  active, local community members who aim to improve and promote headspace services for those  who need them. 

Committee member, Abbie, is particularly proud of how they have made the service space  welcoming for all people over the last year. 

“We all know that finding ways to keep a daily routine with study and work, connecting with family  and friends and reaching out for additional help are some of the small steps that can make a big  difference,” 

“I think it’s really important to create spaces where people can reach out for help and feel  comfortable to start to get into that routine” 

“I love that we have commissioned artists to create mindful murals in the service. Partnering with  TAFE and Farm It Forward has also been a small way to ensure people can feel comfortable  visiting our permaculture garden and hopefully use the services available.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic the need for youth mental health services has dramatically risen. A recent study by the headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey released on Sunday 27  June 2021, shows more than one in two young people (54%) feel a sense of loneliness. 

Debra Mainwarring is the senior clinician at headspace Katoomba. She is happy to be able to  provide such a vital service for young people and their families in the Blue Mountains during this  time.

“We knew that there was a high-demand for a service like this in the Blue Mountains. In  partnership with other services in the community we continue to work to meet this demand and  ensure young people are supported.” she said. 

“Early intervention programs such as headspace are critical, as they not only impact young  people's lives in the present but can influence the whole community as these young people mature  into adulthood.” 

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, who delivered the election  commitment funding for the headspace service, said headspace Katoomba has been embraced by  the community. 

“One year on, it’s clear that the headspace model is a good fit for the Blue Mountains and has  resulted in better mental health outcomes for young people,” Senator Payne said. 

“headspace Katoomba is a practical example of the Morrison Government’s absolute support for  mental health initiatives, with the headspace network a key part of the $2.3 billion National Mental  Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the largest Commonwealth mental health investment in  Australia’s history. 

“As we continue to face the challenges brought on by the once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic,  new resources have been rolled out by the federal government, such as the #ChatStarter program,  which children, young people, parents and carers can access at headtohealth.gov.au.” 

Wentworth Healthcare, the provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, is the  local funder of headspace Katoomba and worked closely with the community and other stakeholders to advocate for the service.  

Wentworth Healthcare CEO, Lizz Reay said, "I want to congratulate the headspace Katoomba  team on this milestone and recognise the hard work of everyone involved in getting this service up  and running during the unique challenges of the past 18 months. During these unprecedented  times, this service has been a safe place for young people to seek help and care for their mental  health concerns and it will continue to provide vital support during the current COVID-19 crisis in  our community." 

If you are a young person in need of further support, you can visit eheadspace (online and phone  support), contact your nearest headspace centre or talk to your GP about options. 

headspace has also designed a series of online Interactive Activities that young people can check  out to source practical tips for connecting with others, goal setting and problem solving