Improving mental health services for young people

The Australian Government’s Mental Health Reform Agenda is changing the way headspace centres across the nation are funded. From 1 July 2016 headspace centres are funded through primary health networks to ensure that headspace services are delivered with a regional focus, based on the needs of young people and their families within local communities.

Central and Eastern Sydney PHN funds the five headspace centres in our region: Ashfield, Bondi, Camperdown, Hurstville and Miranda. CESPHN was the previous lead agency for headspace Hurstville and Miranda and has an excellent understanding of the model. headspace Hurstville and Miranda Operations Manager Lesley Pullen, reassures young people and their families that it is business as usual at the centres and that there will be no disruption to services.

Mariam Faraj, CESPHN General Manager of Clinical Services stated that Central and Eastern Sydney PHN appreciates the headspace model and the importance of youth mental health. 

“Our plan is to assess the needs of our communities, strengthen service provision and improve integration of services so as to deliver a stepped model of care to better support young people and their families”, said Ms Faraj.

headspace centres support young people 12 – 25 years through a range of services including mental health, physical health (including sexual health), drug and alcohol, and work and study supports. Young people can self-refer or can be referred (with their consent) by friends, families, school counsellors, youth workers, GPs - basically by anyone they have contact with. Services are free or low cost and if headspace is not the right service to meet the needs of young people then they will be supported to get the right help.

Ms Faraj said the new arrangement was a more responsive approach to regional and community needs. Funding for several other programs will also be transferred to primary health networks as part of mental health reforms planned for the next three years.

PHNs will “play a key role in the reform process, particularly through the planning and commissioning of primary mental health services at a regional level, supported by a flexible funding pool for mental health and suicide prevention services.”

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services, call Lifeline 13 11 14 or visit

Young people going through a tough time can also contact: