Headspace is aiming to be fully launched in Katherine within the next six months but a location for the youth service remains unknown.
At a Headspace meeting this week at Anglicare in Katherine, Anglicare CEO Dave Pugh and clinical psychologist and the executive manager of Mental Health at Anglicare NT, Jade Gooding responded to questions from the community and provided an overview of what is to come.
“I’m optimistic and relieved that a youth focused mental health service is finally coming to the community,” Mr Pugh said.
“Today marks an interesting milestone of eight years of advocating for a Headspace in the region.
“The government has finally registered that it is important that Katherine is in included in the roll out of the 10 new Headspaces,” he said.
Headspace provides 12-25-year-olds with early intervention mental health services.
The national organisation helps youth with physical, sexual and mental health and offers drug and alcohol expertise.
The Federal Government will invest more than $1.3 million to establish this new service in Katherine.
The arrival of headspace in Katherine was announced last year.
Katherine has been identified as an area of high need, with high rates of reported psychological distress among young people and significantly higher youth suicide rates across the Northern Territory.
Anglicare NT has been selected to run the new service.
Headspace will be the first mental health service for youth in Katherine, delivered by Anglicare and funded by the government.
This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.
The Headspace franchise has a range of stipulations for the location and look of the centre: it must be recognisable, easily accessible for youths, in the main part of town and the building must be green.
“There are 110 Headspaces in Australia, we have very regulated rules and you must be able to spot a Headspace when you go into a town,” Mr Pugh said.
Although they have scouted out a few possible locations for the new centre in the CBD, Ms Gooding said they are still on the hunt for the right one.
The team behind the new Headspace is looking to gather as much input from across the community to utilise local knowledge to create a youth service unique to Katherine.
“We’ve been keeping tabs on youth in the community that are heavily involved in community events and we are really excited about getting input from them,” Ms Gooding said.
Headspace has already begun consultations with youth in the region and plan to work closely with schools.
Mr Pugh is expecting at least over half of the young people accessing Headspace will be indigenous and plans for a dedicated indigenous mental health worker are underway.
In addition the team is looking at how to service smaller remote communities within a 100 kilometre radius.
Headspace is a drop in centre that works on a 38 hour week program, which poses the question of when the service will be open.
“At the moment we are looking at how to facilitate a 38 hour week program. There is a balance of meeting the needs of the service and the needs of the youth in the area,” Mr Pugh said.
“As we’ve seen in (Darwin Headspace), a large number of kids are happy coming during school (hours) and most of them are coming for a purpose to meet with a professional,” he said.
Right now, Mr Pugh and Ms Gooding are looking at opening the service later two evenings per week and on Saturdays.
Recruitment to fill positions for the new service will begin shortly.
If you are feeling emotionally distressed you can call Lifeline at 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline at 1800 551 8000.