eheadspace: used by thousands of Aussie young people

Youth mental health service eheadspace continues to soar in popularity, with more than 15,000 young people and their families seeking help online or over the phone in the past year.

Launched in 2010 to complement the face-to-face services offered at headspace centres around the nation, eheadspace offers webchat, email and telephone counselling services to people aged 12-25 and concerned family members.

Psychologist and Head of Direct Clinical Services Steve Leicester said the suite of digital services ensured young people and families who could not, or did not want to, visit a headspace centre could still get the help they needed, when they needed it.

eheadspace is a completely secure and confidential space for young people who may not feel comfortable walking into a service,” Mr Leicester said.

“The stigma attached to mental health issues can often be a barrier to young people seeking help. eheadspace’s online and phone counselling program has been instrumental in helping to overcome this obstacle.

“We saw a 22% increase in the number of people using eheadspace last year. It’s a fantastic set of tools for early intervention and it’s picking up young people early in the help-seeking process.”

eheadspace is staffed by a team of psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers and occupational therapists, who provide professional help and advice on a range of issues including depression, drug and alcohol issues, and how to support young people going through a difficult time.

Felicity, 39, said she was incredibly grateful for the fast response she received from eheadspace when she emailed the service for advice on how to help her daughter, who was living with depression.

She said her daughter hit a turning point after contacting the counselling service.

“She hasn’t self-harmed for a couple of months now and has found reasons to live,” Felicity said.

“She has moved away from her bad influencers, has regained her smile, is not locking herself away in her room anymore and is generally doing well.

“Knowing that someone was there in one of our darkest hours was just awesome.”

In addition to offering one-on-one counselling, the eheadspace service also offers monthly live information sessions via webchat on different topics, giving young people and their families the chance to ask questions anonymously.

A work and study program is also offered to help young people to cope with exam stress and employment issues, particularly in difficult times of transition. 

Since eheadspace launched six years ago, the service has helped more than 53,000 young people around Australia, with more than three million online chat messages exchanged.

“Our message to young people is simple. If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or isolated, give the team at eheadspace a call or jump online to chat. You don’t have to manage everything on your own,” Mr Leicester said.

“We talk to thousands of young people who are going through a tough time. That can include everything from family breakdowns, through to issues with bullying, same-sex attraction and being overwhelmed by work or study.

“There are issues that can be hard to talk about at first, and sometimes it’s easier to communicate over the phone, through email or webchat.”

For parents and carers who are worried about a child or teenager, eheadspace is place to find support.

Kim, 42, said eheadspace was the most helpful out of all the organisations she approached for help with her teenage foster daughter.

“She doesn’t get spoken down to, the conversation is at her level and the advice is great,” Kim said.

“The tools she has been given to assist in overcoming her depression have been invaluable.”

If you or someone you know is going through a tough time and could use supply, visit eheadspace.