headspace is ‘well designed’ and ‘cost effective’, according to new independent evaluation

headspace has today welcomed the Evaluation of the National headspace Program, documenting the service is cost-effective, well designed, aligned to the mental health needs of young people, and has a reach and take-up that has increased over time.

The evaluation also reports headspace successfully supports the participation of young people in the design and delivery of headspace services, a key focus of the organisation to ensure the service is welcoming and inclusive to all young people. 

Previously independently evaluated in 2009 and 2015, the Evaluation of the National headspace Program is focused predominately on service delivery through headspace centres from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2020.

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan said the evaluation demonstrated the strength of the headspace model and network despite challenges faced by the mental health sector during the evaluation period.

“We know headspace is a place young people and families turn to for support during difficult times which became particularly apparent when the community was faced with climate change events such as bushfires, droughts, floods, and other major events such as Covid-19. It’s important to note that these events were all occurring during a global mental health workforce shortage, putting additional pressure on those working in the sector.  

“To see such positive results in this independent evaluation in the face of all of this is a real testament to the resilience of the teams working at headspace centres in communities and the strength of the headspace model.”

Trethowan said evaluations such as this, offering insight into the effectiveness, outcomes and opportunities for enhancement or refinement, are incredibly valuable.

“It’s vital that services like headspace continue to be reviewed to ensure the service is providing the right support to young people and their families to get them through tough times and back on track.”

Trethowan said headspace will be looking closely at any recommendations for enhancements outlined in the evaluation over coming months.

“We have already undertaken a number of programs to address the challenges and opportunities identified by the independent evaluators in this report.

“Where further consideration is needed, we look forward to working with Government and partners to assess ways in which headspace can continue to be strengthened,” Trethowan said.

Over the past 16 years through to June 2022, headspace has provided more than four and a half million services and supported 778,321 young people at centres across the country.

Evaluation of the National headspace Program is available on the website of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care from today: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/evaluation-of-the-national-headspace-program

headspace strongly encourages any young person going through a tough time to reach out for support. They might choose to speak to a trusted friend or relative, get in touch with their local GP, visit their nearest headspace centre, or connect with phone and online support service at eheadspace or by phoning 1800 650 890.