Young people in the Kooyong electorate are increasingly suffering from the weight of expectation placed upon them, leading to mental health issues, according to a senior official from Headspace.

Hawthorn centre manager Kevin Shanks believes the “fear of failure” is a major contributor towards the poor mental state of young people visiting the facility.

“There is a lot of need [for services] here” Mr Shanks told UniPollWatch, “February was a busy month for us with 186 referrals, meaning there is a 4 week waiting list for intake.”

The Booroondara Council, located within the Kooyong electorate, has the largest number of schools in the country. Headspace Hawthorn works with 48 schools compared to the national average of ten.

“We don’t see a lot of people who aren’t connected to schools or universities.”

Mr Shanks believes the “unknowns of what’s going to happen when [students] leave school with such high unemployment” leaves many young people in the area stressed.

LGBTI and people from cultural backgrounds made up a significant proportion of those who approach Headspace Hawthorn.

“We’re seeing that 24.6% of people presenting to us are LGBTI compared to the national average of 17.9%” Mr Shanks explained, “14% of people presenting to us are also from cultural non-English speaking backgrounds, while 8% is the Australian average.”

Headspace Hawthorn also had 39.6% of people self-referring, well ahead of the Australian average of 26%.

Mr Shanks described the breakdown of families and relationships as another cause of mental illness, with violence prevalent in many cases.

“We revealed to the Royal Commission into Family Violence that one in three young people presenting to us were talking about some sort of past or current family violence.”

Headspace, the national youth mental health foundation, is funded by a core grant from the government and donations from the community. Mr Shanks says the Hawthorn centre “can always do with more [money]” but that upcoming mental health reforms will help.

“It means more capacity for us to do local planning with other Headspace centres in our region.”

“There is significant change happening.”

Reforms include changes to Medicare arrangements with psychologists, new e-services and increased local activities to prevent suicide.

The more “regionalised approach” will begin on July 1st and while it does not provide Headspace with any new money, existing funding of $350 million will be redirected to primary health networks to commission these new mental health services.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s