Budget focus on engaging young unemployed welcomed by headspace
The Commonwealth Government's announcement in the Federal Budget 2015 to invest in better outcomes for young people struggling to engage in the workforce is to be applauded, according to the National Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace.
CEO Chris Tanti said by investing in the lives of young people, particularly the country's most vulnerable, the Commonwealth Government has taken a step towards ensuring we don't have a generation who become long-term unemployed and disadvantaged.
"At a time when youth unemployment is extremely high, it is critical we keep young people working and studying; this is especially true in rural and regional Australia where youth unemployment rates are at their highest," Mr Tanti said.
"Investment in programs that support vulnerable young people to stay engaged in education and employment will have significant benefits to the health and wellbeing of our community and its economic future."
The announcement last night included $55.2 million for trials to identify and engage early with disadvantaged youth who have multiple barriers to employment and support them back into work; and $19.4 million for trials to help improve employment outcomes for young people up to the age of 25 with mental illness, who are at risk of disengaging from education and/or at risk of long-term welfare dependency. Support was also provided for young migrants and refugees to help build their skills base.
One of the key platforms of headspace is supporting young people in the area of work and study. Mr Tanti said a third of headspace clients are currently not engaged in education, employment or training.
"headspace is in a unique position to understand and respond to the very specific needs of young people with mental health issues who are struggling to stay in school or at work," Mr Tanti said.
"Without this support many young people experiencing mental health and other related complex issues will fall through the gaps at the most critical time when they are building foundations for future careers.
"I am hopeful this investment by the Commonwealth Government will go some way to improving the lives of thousands of young Australians."
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Notes to editors: All stories about youth mental health should include youth-specific help-seeking information:
For direct services and support go to headspace.org.au or call 1800 650 890.
The organisation has supported more than 120,000 young Australians dealing with personal issues like depression, anxiety and stress.
headspace was established and funded by the Commonwealth Government of Australia in 2006.