Young people in Katherine will now have access to a free and confidential mental health service with the official opening of Headspace, today.
The $1.3 million project was first announced in 2017 in response to Katherine's high rate of reported psychological distress among young people and significantly higher youth suicide rates.
With mental health now the number one issue facing young people, executive director of Headspace Julia Smith said she is hoping the Katherine service will tear down stigma and meet the growing demand.
"It takes strength and courage to ask for help and Headspace is here to be a support," she said.
Headspace will offer early intervention support to young people aged between 12 and 25 years who are facing mental health challenges.
In 2018/2019 alone, almost 100,000 young people accessed Headspace centres across Australia, with half a million services provided.
Executive manager of mental health Jade Gooding from Anglicare NT, who has been a key driver in opening the Katherine Headspace, announced plans to extend the service to young people living in remote communities.
"It became clear we couldn't just be stationed here, we needed to get out," she said.
"We know young Aboriginal people are the majority of young people and the messages from them was that we needed to be as flexible as we can be."
A mobile outreach clinic will visit the Indigenous communities of Binjari, Beswick, Jilkminggan and Pine Creek every Wednesday.
"It is about increasing access for people who might not be able to get into town," Ms Gooding said.
Nicki Herriot, Northern Territory PHN CEO, said the new centre would address the needs of the Katherine region, which has more than 4,700 young people, roughly 23 percent of the local population.
"We're delighted to have collaborated with headspace and Anglicare NT to provide this vital support centre for the local Katherine communities," said Ms Herriot.
"We also welcome the engagement of Aboriginal community controlled health organisations in the process, and collaborating with local Aboriginal Elders to get the right solution for the large percentage of young Aboriginal people in the Katherine community."
Headspace is centrally located at the Randazzo Centre on Katherine Terrace.
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