Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has committed a re-elected Labor government to building 10 new Headspace centres – which help young people with mental health issues – making the commitment on social media site Reddit.
Asked by user “zach–75” what was his policy on funding for mental health services, Mr Rudd said issues like depression, self-harm, stress and alcoholism blight lives, stop people from reaching their potential and hurt families.
“But since you’ve asked I’ll tell you now,” Mr Rudd – tagged as PMKevinRudd – said.
“If we’re re-elected, a government I lead will put in a $34 million investment to open another 10 headspace centres so that we have 100 across the country.”
“We’ll also be expanding e-headspace so people can get access to advice online too. That’s an important investment – money we want to put in so that we have services that can help.”
Mr Rudd said 90 per cent of young people who have used the headspace service reported improvements. He said the expansion meant 80,000 young people would be helped each year.
A press release from Labor campaign headquarters – put out minutes after the Reddit announcement – said the centres would be built by 2015.
“Locations will be selected based on need and following consultation with the states and territories, local communities and young Australians,” the statement said.
Headspace is a drop-in service for 12 to 25 year-olds who are experiencing mild to moderate problems such as bullying, stress and relationship problems. It was founded by former Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry.
In the 2011 budget the Labor government committed to building 90 Headspace Centres, 16 early intervention psychosis centres and paying for 24,000 packages of flexible care plans.
Mental Health expert John Mendoza, the director of ConNetica Consulting, said he welcomed the announcement of the new centres.
But while the government was on track to deliver the previously promised Headspace centres, it had not managed to deliver anything else.
“What we need is the next level of expertise and specialty care, and that is the early psychosis centres, but we are still waiting on Mr Rudd for that,” Professor Mendoza said.
“And I can tell you with absolute certainty that not one person has received a flexible care package as of now”.
The Coalition is yet to make a mental health policy announcement this campaign.
As first appeared on Canberra Times, 29 August 2013.
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/kevin-rudd-announces-10-new-mental-health-centres-in-reddit-forum-20130829-2stle.html#ixzz2di2K2uMq