HEAD INTO HEADSPACE FOR A WORLD OF SUPPORT

July 1, 2016

Annabelle Pendlebury

13482912_662858570530033_1859708443735513687_oLast Friday marked the launch of ‘headspace’ Greensborough, a highly anticipated local addition to a number of centres now spanning Australia. The Greensborough centre forms a part of a comprehensive mental health foundation for young people.

Greensborough service manager, Christine Denton, says, “headspace is a youth mental health service for young people aged 12 to 25. It’s a centre where young people can come and get support and assistance with anything.”

“No problem is too big. We want to break down the barriers of help seeking for young people.”

“When they see the green branding, they know that this is a safe place to come.”

“Basically, if you feel like you want to come up and have a chat with someone, you can do that here.”

Headspace services are all available for free or at a very low cost, in order to make sure they are readily accessible.

Support and assistance is offered in a wide range of areas related to wellbeing. One significant area is mental health and wellbeing, with services such as counselling and family therapy available at the centre.

“If somebody knows things aren’t going right for them, so they may have family conflict, a relationship breakdown, exam pressure, or they might be starting to experience some of those early signs of mental ill health, then they can come up and talk to us and get an assessment,” says Christine.

“We will support them here at the centre and if we feel they need to go somewhere else, we will help navigate and support them to get to the right service. We won’t ever just say ‘No, we aren’t the right service for you, goodbye’. We will stand by you until we can find you the right service.”

headspace is also available to help young people with any concerns about general physical health and the new Greensborough centre is going to have an onsite “youth friendly doctor” available in the near future.

“One big aspect of headspace is that we partner with a lot of other youth services. People can get support for drug and alcohol issues… we also have [services for] sexual health and we hope in the future to have immunisations available.”

The centre is also host to a number of work and study specialists who are available to chat with young people seeking some “vocation and educational support.”

“We have e-focus here one day per week… they can help with job seeking skills. They’ve got a group starting here in a few weeks for help with job-seeking and resume writing.”

headspace will be a consistent presence in the local community, according to Christine.

“We may be involved in any events that are on in the community, so say for example the annual Banyule Youth Fest. We’ll have a stall there and run some activities.”

“We are really partnering with all the youth services in the councils, [including] Nillumbik, Banyule and Whittlesea councils to really be involved with young people.”

“One of the things that we’ve noticed in the two months that we have been open is that a lot of young people have been talking about social isolation.”

Headspace provides recreational activities and social events to assist in this area.

Christine says, “From there they may get the courage to seek other help, talk to someone and get some counselling”.

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The Youth Advisory Committee at headspace

The headspace team also includes a youth advisory committee consisting of volunteers between the ages of 18 to 25 years of age. The advisory committee members receive some training and then help spread the word to other young people about headspace and mental health through events such as school workshops and presentations.

Katie, one of Greensborough’s committee members, says she became involved because “I’ve always been interested in mental health and the community services part of that… I’ve heard a lot of good things about [headspace] and wanted to know more about what they do behind the scenes.”

“I think it’s important to raise awareness for mental health and to let young people know there is something here [to provide help]. Not a lot of people know.”

Tara is also a member of the committee and says, “I think [headspace] is a very good opportunity for people to get rid of some of their problems and talk to others about their issues.”

It is based on “the idea of being able to come and make an appointment and talk to people.”

Tara says she was attracted to join headspace because “the more help that I can give out, the better… volunteering is good for just life in general, I think!”

Another committee member, Artemis, became involved in headspace after hearing about their counselling services.

“A friend of mine told me, you know, if you want to go talk to someone you can go out to headspace. This was about 3 years ago before Greensborough had opened and there was only one in Collingwood.”

“At the time I did think to myself, I wish there was one closer. So that’s why I love getting involved here, I’m from the Northern suburbs… it’s so good to have something local for me and I know it will be [good] for a lot of other kids from my area… headspace is a really safe place.”

“You don’t have to think, ‘Oh I don’t have really serious issues’ – you can still come here for support that you might not find in the wider world!”

“Even small events like movie nights show how supportive they are… They just really take care of young people and I think that’s really important because it can be when we are the most vulnerable in life.”

Liam became involved after visiting the headspace stall at the Banyule Youth Summit this year.

One thing Liam loves about being a member of headspace is “getting involved with the local community… I really want to help out and do what I can.”

“I know that a lot of young people today suffer from many different issues, but a lot of it’s pushed down. Especially with males, it’s like if you have a mental illness, people might call you ‘weak’, or ‘gay’ and other names like that, when really it is a serious issue and we need to treat it rather than just push it down.”

Liam highlights the supportive mentality of headspace by saying “If anyone ever felt like they didn’t have any friends I would be willing to help and support them because we are obviously in the age group and we know what it’s like to be at school.”

“If anyone just needed a friend, I’d be happy to do anything for them.”

Upcoming Events

If you’re keen to check out the new headspace Greensborough, then come along to one of the fun events being hosted these school holidays.

On Tuesday July 5 from 11 until 2pm, the centre will be hosting a good old-fashioned boardgame bonanza.

On Thursday July 7 from 2pm until 4:30pm, enjoy some peak Amanda Bynes hilarity at the ‘She’s the Man’ film screening.

Book in for these events before spaces fill up by calling headspace Greensborough on 9433 7213.

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Get in Touch

To make an appointment at headspace, simply call the team at Greensborough on (03) 9433 7200, or email them here: HeadspaceGreensborough@mindaustralia.org.au.

Otherwise, you can drop in to the centre located at Level 1, 78 Main Street, Greensborough, Victoria 3088.

For more information, visit their Website or follow them on Facebook

– Annabelle Pendlebury

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