headspace plays key role in improving quality of life for young Australians

A new study of more than 50,000 young people seeking support at headspace has found the service is making significant, meaningful improvements to the mental health of young Australians.

Published this month, the research paper charts improvements in young people’s levels of psychological distress, psychosocial functioning, and quality of life after accessing support at headspace.

Just under 71 per cent of young people who sought help at headspace centres between April 2019 and March 2020 improved in at least one of the three outcomes.

Just under half of young people improved in self-reported quality of life.

Over one-third of young people had significant improvements in psychological distress and a similar proportion in psychosocial functioning.

The paper also outlines the major reasons young people presented to headspace centres, finding most presented with depression and anxiety issues (75.21%).

Established in 2006, Australia’s headspace model remains a world-leading initiative in youth mental healthcare for young people aged 12 to 25 years, inspiring similar services in Ireland, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the United Kingdom, and parts of the United States.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan says the research shows headspace is having a transformative impact on the lives of young people in communities across Australia.

“After 16 years of headspace, positive outcomes continue to be achieved for the young people who seek out our services in tough times,” Mr Trethowan said.

“The improved quality of life young people at headspace report is a testament to the holistic range of services that headspace offers, including supports for mental health and wellbeing, work and study, alcohol and other drugs and physical and sexual health.

“We remain committed to improving our services so every young person has access to the care they need, including the increasing number of young people whose complex mental health needs go beyond the original scope of headspace’s mission of providing early intervention primary mental healthcare.

“We are working with government to grow the reach, capacity and breadth of services at our centres, to help young people get back on track and reach their potential.”

A preprint of ‘Sixteen years of innovation in youth mental healthcare in Australia: Outcomes for young people attending headspace centre services’ is available on medRxiv.

We encourage any young person, family, or friends in need of support to visit their local headspace centre. Support is also available via phone and online counselling service eheadspace seven days a week between 9am–1am (AEST). The number is 1800 650 890.

If you’re looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24/7.