Disengaged young people living in remote towns in Western Australia’s Mid-West can now access crucial youth mental health support services.
Youth Focus has employed respected Geraldton psychologist Gary Bresland to lead the Youth Severe Mid-West program and provide counselling support to young people living in Meekatharra, Mt Magnet, Cue and Yalgoo.
The fortnightly travelling counselling service is available in Geraldton and Meekatharra, as well as outreach sessions for young people aged between 12 and 24 and their families in their home towns.
The WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has provided $345,000 funding for the first 18 months of the project.
Youth Focus General Manager Operations Emma Brierty hoped the program would provide much-needed support, care and psychological help for disconnected young people in the region.
“Youth Focus is proud to be at the forefront of the Youth Severe Mid-West program, providing more young people and their families with vital support,” Ms Brierty said.
“Gary Bresland has worked across the Mid-West as a counsellor and psychologist for 17 years, including considerable time with the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, and is well-known and ingrained in the local communities.
“His fortnightly drive-in, drive-out service is reaching young people in Meekatharra, Cue, Yalgoo and Mount Magnet where, until now, youth mental health services have been limited.
“This new service will ensure crucial help and support is available to disengaged young people to deal with severe depression, anxiety, early psychosis and other triggers that weigh heavily on mental health.”
Statistics show 54 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in Western Australia in 2016. For every suicide, another 20 people attempt to take their own lives.
In addition, one in four young Australians live with a mental health condition, with 75 per cent of mental illnesses first appearing in people under the age of 25.
Young people can be referred to the Youth Severe Mid-West program by mental health workers, general practitioners, Aboriginal health workers or by self/family-referral.
For more information, contact Youth Focus on 6266 4333 or visit www.youthfocus.com.au/get-help/talk-to-us/
If you or someone you know needs urgent support please contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443