August 01, 2019

The newest research from Origin tells us that young people asking for help for depression should be able to access psychotherapy as the first line of treatment, with medication as the second line. Whether it's a counsellor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, young people need a place they can go to talk about their options and receive that therapy. That's what headspace should be, and my commitment to the electorate of Macquarie in the lead-up to the last election was to invest $3.5 million if Labor won so that we could have a full-service headspace in Katoomba, plus $2 million for serious outreach services in the Hawkesbury.

By contrast, the Morrison government made no headspace commitment for the Hawkesbury—nothing. Their only commitment was for a satellite headspace in the upper mountains, but these typically don't offer the full range of headspace services. When you consider the investment is less than half of a full headspace, I'm concerned that it's a shell of what it should really be. We know that often, when a young person seeks help, you only have a little window to give them what they need. By branding it headspace but making it only a satellite service, the danger is going to be not only that it won't be the quantity of service that the mountains need but that it won't be the quality of service they need, and that will have a consequence for how effective it is and how much trust people will have in this very important organisation.