The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress today expressed its concerns at the criticism of the national headspace program especially in the context of the recently released national mental health review which calls for a much greater level of investment in primary mental health care.
“We should be celebrating the additional primary level investment that has come through headspace for Australia’s young people,” said Donna Ah Chee, the Congress CEO.
“Critics should come and visit headspace services in areas of high need like Alice Springs and see for themselves how it is working. I specifically invite John Mendoza to visit Alice Springs and see for himself the level of engagement between headspace and the community.
“headspace has effectively worked in partnership with Congress to ensure there is good integration between a national program with expertise in Adolescent health and an Aboriginal community controlled health service with expertise in Aboriginal health and primary health care,” she continued.
“This partnership has benefited both organisations and has ensured that in Alice Springs, headspace has accessed high needs young people in both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community.
“Congress has been able to provide high quality bulk billing GPs along with psychologists, social workers and a mental health nurse who heads up the service. It is a comprehensive service addressing young people’s needs in a very holistic way,” she added.
“headspace and Congress are both committed to evidence based therapies, data collection on access and outcomes embedded in a continuous quality improvement process as well as vocational rehabilitation and social support.”
“The service is engaged in the local community and headspace national has been very supportive of this.”
“There is an effective partnership based on local community control and engagement with the support of a national program with expertise in the specialised area of adolescent mental health. headspace provides training, support and leadership through the development of innovative programs and approaches which value add to the primary health care approach of Congress,” she concluded.