In what is welcome news for the community, particularly in light of recent tragic events, the 108th headspace has officially opened its doors in Bega.
It has been operating quietly for a couple of weeks, but the service’s building was packed on Thursday, December 13, where the launch was attended by NSW Senator Jim Molan among other dignitaries.
“It’s just a safe place for young people to come and chat about things bothering them,” headspace Bega service manager Brianna Armstead said.
The service had been “a long time coming”, she said, and it would fill a gap around mental health in the Bega Valley.
READ MORE: Mobiles to be banned from NSW public schools
“The service is for anyone. One of the problems with mental health is people often think ‘my problems aren’t big enough, there’s people who have bigger issues than me’,” Ms Armstead said.
“But anyone who needs support will be offered support.”
Ngarigo and Djiringanj elder Aunty Colleen Dixon said headspace would benefit the Indigenous Australian community as well as the wider one.
Several young adults attended the opening, where they all praised the service.
“I think it’s a great idea for young people to be able to access this, especially in high school lots of young people need a way to talk about what’s going on,” 18-year-old Esther Black of Brogo said.
College captain in Year 12 at Lumen Christi Catholic College Ash Burke felt issues around mental health were not widely spoken about in rural communities.
“There’s still these stereotypes that boys should be tough and strong and that really needs changing,” he said.
“There’s no shaming in talking about it.”
The headspace model is based on early intervention with the knowledge that adolescence and early adulthood is a critical time in a person's life, with research showing that 75 per cent of mental health disorders emerge before the age of 25.
Young people can visit the office on the Sapphire Market Place rooftop on Upper St, Bega or call 1800 959 844.