Youth Mental Health Service, Headspace, May Soon Face Funding Crisis, Experts Say

Established by the government in 2006, youth mental health service Headspace is a not-for-profit organisation supporting young Australians aged 12-25 seeking assistance with mental health problems; its funding, however, may soon reach “crisis” point – according to the ABC.

An investigation revealed by the ABC today claims government funding for headspace will not be indexed for the 2015-2016 period, with Professor Ian Hickie, who runs one of Sydney’s Headspace centres, telling the ABC:

“Because of the funds freeze in indexation, we are not able to replace clinical staff who have left in recent times. We have had to make it clear to all staff that we cannot guarantee their positions over the next 12 months, pending resolution of the total amounts to be received from Headspace. “These are staff directly employed under the Headspace grant to assess young people presenting with mental health difficulties.”

However, Headspace Chief Executive Chris Tanti denied the organisation was in “crisis” mode, saying: “We do have waiting lists and that is suboptimal. But we are not in a crisis.” 

Last month, Headspace copped criticism from the former Chief Executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia, John Mendoza, who criticised the so-called “McDonaldisation” of mental health care. Mendoza criticised Headspace for being “obsessed” with branding and marketing, saying: “You can’t roll out the McDonald’s version of healthcare and expect it’s going to work in a variety of communities.” 

Mendoza called on Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to bring Headspace back to its full potential:

Tony Abbott and his Health Minister Sussan Ley must act to get headspace back to what it was meant to be – local communities having a real say not just the tokenistic nonsense that we’ve got at the moment.”

Image via Instagram.

People aged 12-25 seeking help for a mental health problem should contact headspace at Additional support and information is available for those requiring assistance regarding mental health issues by calling Lifeline on 131 114, Mensline on 1300 789 978, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.