Federal funding for "flying" headspace

RFDS PORT AUGUSTA: headspace Community Engagement and Education Coordinator Dave McRae, headspace Assistant Manager Youth Programs Rachel Faulkner, Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Manager Primary Health care RFDS Central Operations Mandy Smallacombe, Operations Manager Country and Outback Health Andrea Trigg and CEO Country and Outback Health Zieco Skeldon.
RFDS PORT AUGUSTA: headspace Community Engagement and Education Coordinator Dave McRae, headspace Assistant Manager Youth Programs Rachel Faulkner, Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Manager Primary Health care RFDS Central Operations Mandy Smallacombe, Operations Manager Country and Outback Health Andrea Trigg and CEO Country and Outback Health Zieco Skeldon.

The federal government is making a significant investment to improve youth mental health in outback South Australia, announcing $600,000 to get a "flying" headspace initiative off the ground.

Based out of Port Augusta, headspace will collaborate with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to deliver programs from their clinic sites at Maree and Oodnadatta.

The partnership will see headspace staff provide therapeutic services for young people in remote parts of the state.

The team will also deliver community engagement activities to these communities to increase awareness around mental health and suicide prevention.

headspace Assistant Manager Youth Programs Rachel Faulkner said the program is the result of a hands-on scoping exercise.

"We are certainly hoping to increase mental health awareness in the community so they know what's available, whether that be the support on the ground but also linking in with e-mental health where possible," she said.

"But absolutely what we are wanting to do is to reduce some of the mental health stress that's happening in those communities.

"It's going to be imperative that we are in there, we are on the ground and we are getting used to the community and understanding their issues."

One in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 years will experience mental ill-health in any given year and three quarters of all mental illness first manifests in people under the age of 25.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the funding will help address the challenge of providing mental health services to outback communities.

"It can be difficult to provide specialised services for small populations, their needs are often complex, multiple and multi-generational and every bit as important as those who live in populated areas. This partnership is certainly an exciting outcome."

"headspace which is funded through SA Country Primary Health Network, is doing great work and we know if we can help young people early it is much more likely we can rectify their issues and improve their life.

"The service provides a double edged benefit, with healthier, happier, more productive people contributing far more to Australia's future."

The RFDS has been the pre-emminent provider of travelling remote health services for 90 years.

Acting Primary Care Manager RFDS Port Augusta Base Mandy Smallacombe said the RFDS is excited to be working with headspace.

We have been on a course of expanding our mental health care team on the back of an increased funding commitment from the Commonwealth government, which is greatly needed in outback communities, Ms Smallacombe said.

We also identified an outstanding gap in specialist support for adolescent and young people, which working in partnership with Country SA Primary Heath Network and headspace we can now help to address in these communities.