THERE will be more events like Tuesday's celebration of the first anniversary of Headspace Grafton because they are an integral part of the service as well as a reason to have a good time.

With live music from locally-based international singing star Tullara Connors, dancing classes, mechanical bull riding and sumo-suit wrestling there was plenty for everyone.

Headspace Grafton manager Jason Grimes said the first year of the service in Grafton had exceeded expectations.

"There were a lot of expectations when we first started because of the way the service came to the area after a series of tragic deaths of young people," he said.

"We were never going to be the panacea to solve everyone's problems.

"There is a lot of great mental health work being done with agencies like the New School of Arts and Grafton Mental Health. We had to make sure we worked in with them."

He said the community had asked for an organisation tailored to deal with youth mental health issues.

"The strength of Headspace is its ability to give access to information," he said.

"We have so many things tailored to give young people and their families information to help with their issues. And knowledge is power that empowers them to handle these issues."

Mr Grimes said Headspace went beyond its youth remit, working with families to provide help in the areas of drug and alcohol counselling, sexual health and education and employment.

He said funding announced last week would allow Headspace to expand to the Lower Clarence next year.

"Having outreach into the Lower Rriver area is going to move access to clinical help for young people to those areas," he said.

Mr Grimes said more events like the first anniversary celebrations were also part of the plans.

"It's incredible for us to have someone like Tullara come here to play," he said.

"She's an international recording star, but also from the local community.

"It's really important young people see people like her and others who they see go on to have careers in art, theatre and sport."



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