Media Releases

headspace leading innovation in youth mental healthcare

19 Oct 2018
headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation, is Australia’s innovation in youth mental healthcare and comprises the largest national network of enhanced primary health care, youth mental health centres worldwide.

For the first time, headspace, has outlined this effective model of care for youth mental health in the Early Intervention in Psychiatry Journal. Research shows that 75 per cent of mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. By treating these issues early and providing a holistic model of support, the risk of them developing into more serious problems may be greatly decreased. The headspace model understands that adolescence and early adulthood is a critical time in a person’s life, therefore by supporting young people through this period, headspace is setting them up to get things back on track heading into the future.

The four core streams – mental health, physical (including sexual) health, alcohol and other drug services, and work and study support, offer young people ‘wrap-around’ services ensuring any young person seeking support from headspace can have their needs met in a safe and supportive environment.

The needs of young people and their families are the main drivers of the headspace model and, as well as the four core streams, there are other service components that make this model stand out. These include:

  • Youth participation - the participation of young people is a key driver of the headspace model to ensure that it is genuinely youth‐centric and responsive to young people's needs and preferences.

  • Family and friends participation – young people live their lives supported by family and friends.

  • Community awareness – maintaining mental health literacy within the community enables them to support young people.

  • Enhanced access – anyone can walk into a headspace centre at no or low cost.

  • Early intervention – in the development of a mental health problem, it is crucial to intervene early.

  • Appropriate care – depending on the circumstance of a young person, the most appropriate care will be given.

  • Evidence-informed practice – headspace delivers services based on the best current evidence.

  • Service integration – depending on each young person’s issues, plans will be put in place to integrate different services for a positive recovery.

  • Supported transitions – if a headspace centre cannot meet the needs of a young person, appropriate services are always recommended for them.

The unique headspace model represents a key example of innovation and best practice in youth mental healthcare and is now being replicated internationally by several countries who are implementing related approaches.

headspace believes that with the right tools, young people can build and maintain their mental health and wellbeing. This paper describes how the headspace model works, providing benefits for young people, health professionals, and family and friends who use the model.

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