Member for Page, Kevin Hogan and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Prince Street for the announcement of funding for a headspace in Grafton.
Member for Page, Kevin Hogan and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Prince Street for the announcement of funding for a headspace in Grafton. Caitlan Charles

Don't wait for Headspace if you need help now

FOLLOWING Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt's big announcement earlier this week of a Headspace facility for Grafton, mental health providers are still urging the community to take advantage of the services already available in the Clarence Valley.

North Coast Primary Health Network manager of mental health reform Wendy Pannach said there were other avenues for people looking for assistance with mental health issues.

"There are a few good ways for people to access help while we wait for Headspace to be established, and for the Our Healthy Clarence plan to be implemented,” Ms Pannach said.

"Firstly, there's an online directory at https://directorywayahead.org.au/ which lists a range of organisations in the Clarence Valley which are able to provide help.

"We also always recommend that people see their GP as one of their first options.

"Part of the minister's funding announcement on Wednesday was that there will be increased psychiatry services in the Valley, so GPs will have more services to refer to.

"This includes a child psychiatrist who we hope will start seeing young people within the next six weeks.”

Ms Pannach said the NCPHN is responsible for the implementation of a Headspace in Grafton.

"(We) will work with the Our Healthy Clarence steering committee during the process of identifying a lead agency to establish and manage the centre,” she said.

"(We) are committed to progressing this process as quickly as possible.”

The network is waiting for written confirmation from the Department of Health regarding the Headspace funding before it can proceed further.

"NCPHN will work with Our Healthy Clarence to determine what is the best service mix for Headspace Grafton,” Ms Pannach said.

"At the same time, (we) will develop the tender documents for the selection of the lead agency and will seek the input of young people to help identify the preferred building.

"The lead agency will work to make sure building refurbishments are completed as quickly as possible and staff and clinicians are recruited.”

The Our Healthy Clarence plan, which the NCPHN has been developing with mental health workers and community members, focuses on improving the wellbeing and mental health of the Clarence Valley.

"The first thing community members can do to help is register to receive information about what's happening to progress the plan.

"This will help them see how they can get involved over time. This can be done by emailing ourhealthyclarence@ncphn org.au,” Ms Pannach said.



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