HEADSPACE: Opening doors for our youth
IT ALL came full circle when the ribbon was cut at the opening of Headspace Grafton, two years to the day since three mothers invited Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan to a community meeting about the youth mental health service at the Grafton Community Centre.
Kerry Laurie couldn't stand by and watch her son Caleb go through his mental health issues without help. She needed to do something.
"It's an emotional day," she said. "We've really needed this, my son suffers from depression and anxiety and he goes to the Headspace in Coffs Harbour so with me not driving or anything, it's a big relief that it's open here."
Ms Laurie knew she needed to do something about the issues in the Clarence Valley, especially to help her son and others in similar situation.
"My son was self-harming, so I didn't want to be a mum without my son," she said.
"I'm so happy with the community, we're a very close-knit family and I'm glad we got behind (Headspace) and did this, it's fantastic."
Mr Hogan gave an emotional speech at the opening, saying that this was a service he wished the community didn't need, but it was fabulous that the cries for help had been heard.
"I have tears of elation, and at some level tears of despair, tears of joy and tears of everything today," he said.
"This is two years to the day that I had three parents come to me... and say we are losing too many of our young people to suicide. Mental health is a huge issue in our community, as in all community, but we feel there is a vacuum of services.
"Headspace is filling one part of that, it's an early intervention service. There are other things we've done with other services like Cranes, the Buttery, and other services we've rolled out over the past 12 months but there is more to come.
"What I hope the youth hear today is that we care, that if you're not feeling ok, it's ok to say you're not feeling ok and there is no stigma in seeking help."
Mr Hogan added that he wanted to thank Health Minister Greg Hunt for listening when he 'demanded' a Headspace in Grafton.
"He visited out community immediately and helped me fast track this facility," he said.
Headspace Grafton provides mental and physical health services for young people aged 12 to 25 to promote health and wellbeing run by GenHealth at 59 Duke St, Grafton.
How do you feel about Headspace finally opening in Grafton?