Statement from headspace Interim Chair, Ian Marshman

July 1 marked a significant change in the role of headspace National Office.  

For the last decade, headspace National Office oversaw and implemented an extraordinarily successful period of development of mental health services for young people across Australia. 

Now it will safeguard quality of service and ensure facilitation, reporting, research and development for the near 100 headspace centres nation-wide. 

Direct service delivery will be coordinated through Primary Health Networks and other providers under arrangements set out in a new funding agreement with the Commonwealth Government. 

Reflecting this change in role, a new constitution and governance model has been approved for headspace, with the support of the Commonwealth government.  The new governance framework provides for a smaller board of up to seven directors and clarifies the relationship with the Commonwealth. 

At the time of these changes, headspace Board Chair Wendy McCarthy AO and a number of other directors have tendered their resignations from the Board.

Under the revised Constitution a specially constituted Nominations Committee is charged with appointing a new Board by August.

In the interim, the Board has appointed Ian Marshman to serve as Chair until the new Board is in place.

In making this announcement, I want on behalf of the Board to acknowledge the enormous contributions of previous directors, in particular Wendy McCarthy.

Ms McCarthy has chaired the headspace Board over the past seven years.

During this time she has successfully overseen the rapid expansion of the headspace network. 

She has been a tireless and dedicated advocate of early intervention in youth mental health and along with other directors has done much to help raise public awareness of this critical area of public health.

Over this time headspace has grown from 30 to nearly 100 centres. It has also developed an integrated online, eheadspace service and delivered a vital suicide post-vention program which supports school communities to recover from suicide. 

In total close to 260,000 young Australians have received the help of headspace.

An outstanding accomplishment.

headspace has made vital progress in improving access to services for young Australians with mental health problems.

headspace staff and the Board have each played important roles in achieving these outcomes.

Young people and their families can be assured that during this transition headspace services will not be affected and we will ensure that further and sustained progress continues.

The Board is also encouraged by the strong level of support for youth mental health services and the headspace model articulated by both of the major parties during the election campaign. This means there is much to progress in the next phase of development.

On behalf of the entire headspace network, we wish to thank Ms McCarthy and the departing board members for their contributions and wish them the very best for the future.

For further information contact:

Michael Bennett
Media and Communication Manager
Mob: 0413 025 385