With young people seeking help at an unprecedented rate and rising levels of complexity and acuity, it is increasingly evident that headspace centres are experiencing major challenges in meeting the demand for services and that wait times are growing. Long wait times are a major barrier to help-seeking for young people and their families, so it is critical to better understand the factors affecting wait times at centres.
In response to growing demand for services, headspace National undertook a national survey of headspace Centre Managers in late 2018. The survey aimed to better understand the frontline view of the level of demand and the key factors that were perceived to affect wait times at centres. All Centre Managers of headspace centres open at the time of the survey were invited to participate and all responded (a total of 103 centres).
The data was collected on a confidential basis as part of our ongoing approach to service improvement and it revealed a series of underlying systemic issues that are affecting wait times across the headspace network.
The results of the headspace survey confirmed the high and growing level of demand. Most headspace centres are struggling to meet this demand within their current resources due to a range of underlying systemic issues that are affecting wait times. There is clearly an urgent need to address the wait times and unmet need of young people seeking to access mental health services in Australia. headspace has identified six key actions that would make a difference and help headspace centres to meet the growing demand for their service.