The headspace openings brought dignitaries, community members, and young people together to celebrate successfully gaining a vital service for young people in their communities. In acknowledging the importance for young people to have access to services like headspace in their region, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Emma McBride said, “We know the unique challenges that young people face growing up outside of big cities. We have seen cumulative natural disasters, bushfires, floods and COVID. The data backs up what we’ve seen anecdotally that we’ve seen an increase in mental health disorders, especially amongst young people, and of that young women particularly are impacted.”

headspace support young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drug services, as well as work and study support. With a focus on early intervention, the headspace teams work with young people to provide support at a crucial time in their lives – to help get them back on track and strengthen their ability to manage their mental health in the future.

With over 150 headspace centres across Australia, headspace aims to meet the evolving and unique needs of young people aged 12-25 and those who support them. At the heart of headspace is the youth reference groups which play an active role in designing, developing, and evaluating the headspace programs.

Two impressive young women Shelby and Hailey, both YRG members, emceed the official opening proceedings for their headspace facility. Shelby stated, ‘We are so lucky to have this facility so all young people can get the support they need; having this support in Kempsey will literally save lives.

CEO of headspace Jason Trethowan thanked the Samaritans, particularly Clinical Services Integration Manager Felicity Scott, who has been instrumental in leading the four headspace Samaritans facilities. In summing up he said, ‘headspace is like a national recipe with local ingredients. The future of headspace in Kempsey is safe with young people like Shelby representing the service.

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