Funding pledges more support for young people struggling to meet their work and study goals

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation welcomes the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services’ announcement of the continuation and expansion of the headspace Digital Work and Study Service (DWSS).

The funding will ensure continued support for young people across Australia, especially those who may be slipping through the gaps. The headspace approach targets young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties and are disengaged from work and study through collaborative models of care.

Adolescence and early adulthood are vital periods for establishing vocational and social norms. Exclusion from the workforce can impact a young person’s ongoing participation throughout life and leads to considerable economic cost estimated at $7.2 billion per year nationally.

Australian and international evidence indicates that. There is a two-way link between youth unemployment and mental health; young people not being engaged in work can lead to poor mental health and young people with poor mental health are less likely to engage in work.

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan, said centres witness this on a daily basis.

“In 2017–18, headspace supported close to 8,000 young people aged 17–25 who were disengaged in employment and education. This disengagement significantly impacts their mental health. Research shows that work provides positive and protective factors to a young person’s overall wellbeing,” he said.

This challenge is exacerbated in regional Australia, where many communities are facing high youth unemployment levels (up to 50%) as well as increasingly high rates of suicide and limited access to clinical and employment supports.  

The headspace Digital Work and Study program has been running for two years and has, successfully supported more than 600 young people (aged 15–24) and delivered more than 5,000 work and study services online

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson said “this digital platform complements headspace face-to-face services around Australia, with young people usually receiving a referral to the service from a headspace location.”

75% of young people who enter the service indicated high or very high psychological distress, and 73% were not accessing an employment service agency.

This digital program demonstrated strong outcomes which showed that the longer a young person used the service, the more likely it would be that they would find a job or engage in study:

  • 2-4 Sessions, 37%
  • 5-9 Sessions, 54%
  • 10+ Sessions, 72%

headspace acknowledges the bipartisan support from successive governments since commencing in 2006.

For media enquiries please contact: Stephanie Fonti, headspace Communications Coordinator on 0413 025 385 or