Finding good headspace closer as government makes promise

Brenda Strong

A HEADSPACE in Gladstone may be one step closer with the announcement in the Federal Budget that mental health services are a top priority.

About $14.9 million will be allocated for 10 new centres across the country, to be delivered by 2017-18.

CQ Medicare Local's Tracy Siddins said she was hopeful Gladstone would be a strong contender for consideration.

"We are excited about the announcement of 10 new centres," she said.

"We're definitely very hopeful that Gladstone will be one of those 10."

Ms Siddins was pleased the Federal Government had not overlooked mental health.

It is anticipated over four years, the number of headspaces in Australia will rise to 100 centres.

"It is good to see mental health is on the radar for the Federal Government," she said.

"We will be definitely be putting in a strong application for Gladstone."

Headspace4Gladstone is a community-run campaign advocating the dire need for comprehensive mental health services in Gladstone.

According to the 2011 ABS Census, the Gladstone region's youth population was identified as being about 10% of residents.

This proportion rates higher than the average Queensland youth population.

Merchandising proceeds from the recent Boyne Tannum HookUp were directly benefiting the campaign.

Isolation is amplified for those youth suffering from mental health issues, faced with a choice of travelling an hour and a half to access specialised services, or going without.

Bonnie Lawler, 17, is a recently appointed member of Gladstone Youth Council, and is passionate about affecting change in our local mental health landscape.

"I suffer from mental health issues. For me suffering from them, it's always been very hard as I had to go to Rockhampton for help," she said.

"A headspace in Gladstone would be brilliant. They do a lot of great work, and a centre would make their services more accessible."

Sign the petition for a headspace in Gladstone at www.headspace4gladstone.com.



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