The announcement of a $47 million funding boost to youth mental health organisation headspace will not directly address the challenges facing the service in Tasmania.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the funding would support headspace through a new youth mental health ambassador project and funding for its head office in Melbourne.
Headspace Launceston and Devonport manager Wayne Frost said he was pleased about the announcement, which will allow the national body to do its work and may positively impact Tasmania through training and professional development opportunities and awareness campaigns.
Mr Frost said the success of headspace’s awareness campaigns were now causing difficulty as more people accessed the service.
“The centres are under considerable strain to meet demand,” Mr Frost said.
Young people are experiencing a wait time of at least four weeks to access counselling services.
Mr Frost said funding has not been keeping in step with the increase in demand, with the centre’s lacking a funding increase “in real terms for 10 years.”
Mental Health Council of Tasmania chief executive Connie Digolis said high demand and the challenge of attracting and retaining clinical staff are issues facing youth mental health service providers in the state’s South.
“We cannot see that the funding announced is going to result in a direct injection of resources into Tasmania,” Ms Digolis said.
This is the third funding boost to headspace in recent months bringing the total federal investment to more than $208 million since October.
“I want our young people to know that they are not alone on their journey, and that headspace is there to deliver quality front-line support and coordinate the right interventions for people who are at risk,” Minister Hunt said. There remains uncertainty as to how Tasmanian centres would benefit from this funding in order to address the challenges facing the service.