Supporting young people experiencing mental health challenges find meaningful employment

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation welcomes the Minister for Families and Social Services’ announcement of the continuation and expansion of the Individual Placement and Support program in headspace centres.

Through collaborative models of care this vital service supports young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties and are disengaged from work to enter the workforce.

The funds allocated to headspace will build upon the integrated stepped care approach that exists at 14 headspace Centres largely located in regional and rural areas across Australia, and will expand the service to a further 10 headspace Centres until 30 June 2021.  

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.

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan, said Centres witness this on a daily basis as 1 in 4 young people (17-25 years) who come to a headspace centre are not engaged in work or study.

“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,” he said.

It is crucial to fill the gap in early intervention support for those vulnerable young people failing to effectively engage in traditional job-seeking or Disability Employment Services.”

Based within headspace Centres, Individual Placement and Support integrates employment services with clinical mental health support. It focuses on the individual needs of people with mental illness who are seeking to enter, or remain in employment.

Support is provided either face-to-face or online and self-help support is also available which ensures that young people have every opportunity to contribute to the economic growth of Australia.

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher MP said participants can access supports including job coaching, assistance navigating community support services and Centrelink systems, targeted education and/or employment opportunities and on-the job support.

“Since the IPS Trial launched on 1 November 2016, the results have been very promising. Of the 879 participants who were in the Trial to April 2018, 50 per cent achieved an education or employment placement during the Trial,” Mr Fletcher said.

This funding not only acknowledges headspace as the Government’s key youth mental health platform, but also acknowledges that headspace has been successful in providing a ‘soft entry’ access to work and study services for young people who may otherwise have barriers accessing employment services.

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

See Minister for Families and Social Services announcement.