Since it opened earlier this year Headspace Mackay has helped 600 young people in the region, and the service is ramping up its efforts leading into the festive season.
Headspace clinical manager and clinical psychologist Dr Phillip Stacey said the service had been “running flat-out” after its opening in March.
Dr Stacey said anxiety, depression and stress were the most common mental health issues presenting at Headspace in Mackay.
“It’s a different world that we live in now and social and peer pressure is a 24/7 stimulus in everybody’s lives, and this affects teens,” he said.
“You may have an economy under stress or parents under stress and you’re going to get teens under stress too.”
He said the lead-up to Christmas was a typically busy time for mental health services across the city.
“There has been an increase (already) even with the balance of school referrals dropping off.
“This is our first Christmas as Headspace in Mackay so we’re preparing for that.”
“That period, the post -Schoolies blues, you’ve got teens who had 12 to 13 years of doing the same thing, the same studying, seeing the same friends every day and networking.
“All of a sudden that routine comes to an end and the party is fantastic, but then the realisation sets in that life has actually kicked in now.
“We’re expecting to see kids dealing all of a sudden with not having a social peer network around them and dealing with social struggles.
“Some handle it fine, but others struggle a bit, so we want to be there for them.”
He encouraged teens attending Schoolies to “watch each other’s backs” and to contact police at the first sign of trouble.
Where to go for help
- Headspace Mackay is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm. Phone 4898 2200 or drop into the office at 36 Wood St.
- If you need to speak with someone urgently phone Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.
This article first appeared on CQ News on 20 November, 2013.