headspace thumbs up in North

EMILY BAKER | The Examiner | Friday, July 3, 2015

MOST people accessing headspace Launceston and Devonport have reported above average satisfaction with the service, despite national criticism of the model.

The national organisation, which focuses on the health and wellbeing of 12- to 25-yearolds, came under scrutiny earlier this year when mental health experts accused the facility of failing young people as it presented the ''McDonald's version of healthcare''. Cornerstone Youth Services chief executive David O'Sign - who oversees the deliverance of headspace services in Launceston and Devonport -said the indication of satisfaction in Tasmania showed the model worked. Clients reported satisfaction ratings of 4.51 for staff, 3.99 for outcomes, 4.41 for the centre and 4.33 overall, each out of a possible five. Mr O'Sign pointed to the skills of staff to explain the high ratings: ''Historically, we've recruited well,'' he said. He said the challenge for the organisation would be maintaining that satisfaction level after headspace received a 12-month extension on 2014-15 funding levels in contrast to its request for a three-year funding model. Practically, Mr O'Sign said that meant headspace had not received a funding increase and that the organisation might not able to reach out into Tasmania's more isolated regions as effectively as it hoped. ''The challenge for us is sustainability in maintaining staffing levels and maintaining a mix of skills,'' he said. ''Because funding levels remain the same doesn't mean our costs remain the same. ''We need to be smart about how we move forward.''headspace Launceston dealt with 10,000 occasions of service last year. Youth seeking help can visit headspace.org.au or contact 1800 650 890.

Courtesy of The Examiner, Launceston.