Pat Conaghan MP

headspace Kempsey to open its doors by end of 2020

The Morrison-McCormack Government has delivered an election promise with headspace Kempsey set to be open before the end of this year in a shopfront opposite the Kempsey Samaritans Hub.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan joined headspace, North Coast Primary Health Network and Samaritans today for a breaking ground ceremony at the 60 Smith Street site led by local Aboriginal Elder Uncle Fred Kelly.

“Today is a really important day for the Macleay Valley as soon its youth will receive the mental health services they need, right here in the heart of Kempsey,” he said.

“I advocated strongly for a dedicated headspace for Kempsey as young people are more likely to reach out and ask for assistance if there is an approachable, accessible mental health service.

“And today’s announcement comes with job opportunities too. A mix of 10 full-time and part-time jobs will be created at the centre, with at least five of these jobs earmarked for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – a great outcome for the Kempsey community.

“I thank the Minister for Health Greg Hunt for allocating $3.4 million over four years for this headspace centre as I know it will make a real difference in the lives of young people living in the Macleay Valley.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the new centre will provide a significant increase in support for young people living in the local area.

“There are more pressures on young people today than ever before and the establishment of this headspace is so important in providing needed services in Kempsey,” Minister Hunt said.

“I am committed to ensuring young Australians can get information, advice, counselling or treatment, when and where they need it.”

headspace Kempsey is one of 30 new sites being established nationally to boost frontline health services and reduce wait times. headspace provides vital mental health, related physical health, and sexual health youth-friendly care as well as support for alcohol and other drugs misuse.

Regional welfare agency Samaritans has been appointed by Healthy North Coast Primary Health Network to deliver the headspace service.

Samaritans CEO Brad Webb said the new service offered a timely response to support young people in the local community.

“In the six years we have been supporting the Kempsey community, we have seen the ongoing and urgent need for a dedicated youth mental health centre,” Mr Webb said.

“Samaritans has been delivering headspace services since 2008 and is honoured to be selected to provide this vital service to the Kempsey community.”

About 560,000 Australian children and adolescents are estimated to have a mental illness and one in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experiences mental illness in any given year. Early intervention in mental health illness is important because three quarters of all mental illness starts in people under the age of 25.

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Australian Government provided $111.3 million to increase the number of headspace sites from 115 to 145 across Australia by 2021.