Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, was joined by Senator Katy Gallagher, Shadow Minister for Mental Health; Simon Curtis, Labor Candidate for La Trobe & Jennifer Yang, Labor Senate Candidate for Victoria for a visit to Headspace Narre Warren.
Headspace Narre Warren staff provided an update on their service and the Headspace YEPP program, and emphasized how vital this service was for Casey’s youth.
Since the Summit on Youth Suicide in 2012 Anthony Byrne MP has led efforts to ensure two headspaces were built in Dandenong & Narre Warren.
During the visit to Headspace Narre Warren Senator Katy Gallagher outlined Labor’s plans to provide better support for people with a mental illness and action to prevent suicide in the lead up to next year’s Federal Election.
“Headspace Narre Warren has been of enormous benefit to Casey’s youth. However, after our briefing it appears as though the future of this facility is not being guaranteed. Since 2014 three lead agencies have managed or will manage Headspace Narre Warren. This has led to Headspace staff to be concerned about their future employment during each retendering process. It is vital we guarantee the future viability of Headspace Narre Warren for the long term,’ said Mr Byrne.
“It is also beyond comprehension that the Turnbull Government is cutting funding to the Youth Early Psychosis Program (YEPP) at Headspace Narre Warren. In 2016/17 there will be a 25 per cent budget cut to the YEPP program and in 2017-18 there will be a 70 per cent cut to the YEPP program by the Turnbull Government. In November 2015, the Southern Melbourne headspace YEPP treated 206 young people experiencing early psychosis and their families. Those numbers are continuing to rise, and it is expected that by June 2016, headspace YEPP will provide clinical care to over 600 clients. Reduction in the size of headspace YEPP or its closure will result in the disruption of current clinical care arrangements and impact young people and families adversely. Labor opposes these cuts and instead of making decisions that would leave vulnerable people without supports we would work with YEPP and the local Primary Health Network to deliver a coordinated service that meets the needs of young people in Casey living with mental illness,’ said Mr Byrne.
“As a local school teacher, I am directly aware of the enormous need for top quality Mental Health services in our community. It was young people in or community who lobbied so hard for a local Headspace. It is sad that the Turnbull Government has not been able to see the human story behind these heartless cuts. Anyone who underestimates the need for Mental Heath services in our local community is clearly out-of-touch. Only a year ago, Liberal MP Jason Wood, came here to Headspace Narre Warren for the official opening, now he wants to cut funding to the centre,’ said Mr Curtis.
“Wherever I go in Melbourne and Victoria, young people tell me that mental health is the biggest challenge facing the youth of today. In addition to early prevention mental health services, Headspace offers young people support and advice on general health issues, alcohol and drug services, education and employment. These are vital services that need to be adequately funded to ensure it continues to support young people in the long run. Unlike the Turnbull Government’s uncertainty on mental health funding, Labor is committed to delivering an integrated, cross-sector and whole of government mental health care system. Services such as Headspace play a critically important role in this process and it needs to be appropriately funded,’ said Ms Yang.
Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.