If you’re an at-risk youth in Adelaide suffering from psychosis, as of June 30, you may struggle to find the support services you desperately need.
Right now, headspace Adelaide offers a Youth Early Psychosis Program, that has treated around 40 patients since starting earlier this year. The evidence based program focuses on early recognition of more complex and potentially severe mental illness. They do this by supporting people at the preliminary stages of psychosis, a health issue that has one of the highest burdens of any mental illness. However, with early intervention and follow up care, the patients can manage their condition for the rest of their lives. headspace’s main goal is to keep people out of hospital and provide counselling and support from a range of mental health professionals, both at the centre and in the community as reported by SBS.
However, as of June 30, headspace can’t guarantee the service due to a lack of federal funding. “The headspace National Office received formal notification on April 19 that the federal government had decided to discontinue the implementation of the early psychosis model, based on the National Mental Health Commission’s review of mental health services,” headspace spokesperson Michael Bennett told SBS. “In order to implement this decision, we understand funding will cease for the headspace Adelaide site to take on new clients for this program on June 30.”
While there’s no guarantee the service will be available in the new financial year, Bennett acknowledged the support headspace has received over the years, from both sides of government, and the work they are still doing.
“We are working closely with the South Australian government, the South Australian Primary Health Networks and the Federal Department of Health to ensure that all existing clients receive on going care," he said.
"Our purpose has always been to provide for the mental health needs – both complex and otherwise - of young people and we are encouraged by the Federal Health Minister’s statement that she will ensure all young people with complex mental health concerns are not denied treatment.”
In response to the news, Donna Symonds, a university student studying psychology, has launched the South Australian Youth Mental Health Action Group and a petition calling on the federal government to guarantee funding for the service. The change.org petition has already seen over 3,300 signatures from concerned members of the community with commenters voicing their anguish.
“We don't say to people who are presenting with early stages of cancer, 'go away and come back when your cancer has progressed and is more debilitating.' - Cutting this service just doesn't make sense!,” said one commenter.
While another exclaimed, “I lost my brother to mental illness! These services are crucial, especially for our youth!” To read more click here.
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