Report Card shows early intervention must remain a priority
Australia's Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace has welcomed the release of a new report card into the performance of the mental health system, saying it bolstered the organisation's case that intervening early with younger Australians is an effective long-term strategy.
headspace CEO Chris Tanti welcomed the report's focus on older Australians with more serious mental illness issues.
"Because of the work headspace is doing, a generation of young people is able to easily access youth-friendly services in a way that was unheard of, even for their parents' generation," said Mr Tanti.
"The report powerfully illustrates the huge impact that serious mental health problems have in a range of areas, such as mortality and physical health, employment, human rights and also on the carers of those with a mental illness.
"We can clearly see generations of older people missing out on the kinds of services the current generation of young people is benefitting from, through headspace.
"It shows how vital it is that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past."
Mr Tanti said the massive increase in the number of young people coming to headspace for help shows the service is having a real and growing impact on the mental health of young people.
The number of new clients coming to headspace centres has grown by 69 per cent over the past year. And over the same period, new clients coming to the online and telephone service eheadspace has increased twelvefold.
"It's an impact that will yield benefits not just to the young Australians seeking help, but the whole community well into the future as these people get older," Mr Tanti said.
Mr Tanti said the National Mental Health Commission's report A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, also touched on a number of issues relevant to young people going through a tough time.
"It was pleasing to see the report acknowledge the community's responsibility to support young people who are themselves supporting parents and loved ones with a mental illness," Mr Tanti said.
The report also:
- Acknowledges high rates of suicide among young men and lower rates of access among young people to mental health services;
- Calls for further exploration of the role of social media in suicide and self harm and identifies the need for strategies to reach and protect young people in their online activity; and
- Acknowledges more work to be done in listening to the voices of young people, to ensure they have a voice in future reports and help improve the mental health system.
In compiling the report, the Commission sought the assistance of the headspace centre in Geelong centre and its youth reference group, Youth Future Crew.
The report's focus on mental health issues affecting Indigenous Australians was informed by work being undertaken by headspace in improving its engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
headspace Media Advisor
Ph: 0413 025 385
Note to media: Stories about youth mental health should include a link to headspace.org.au