Western Australia Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton
State Budget 2011-12: Supporting our Community
Youth Mental Health Service Receives Government Support
Victor P Taffa
Suicide prevention has attracted funding of $1.2 Million to Youth Focus in the next four years, highlighting the State Government’s desire to address this important issue.
Young people at risk of depression and suicide can access free counselling and a range of other services through Youth Focus. The grant will help to meet increased demand by supporting four youth counsellors in Perth and the South-West.
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the funding to Youth Focus was the most generous grant by any Western Australian Government and said the money would support the new ‘Focus Plus’ Program which engages 12-25 year-olds who have a GP-provided Mental Health Care Plan.
“About one in four young people will have had a depressive disorder by the end of their adolescence and on average a young person takes their own life almost every week in WA.” Mrs. Morton said.
“These statistics are heartbreaking and should be considered unacceptable in our community.”
Youth Focus employs psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists to provide early intervention and prevention services free-of-charge and to help young people and their families deal with issues associated with suicide, depression and self harm.
The Minister said tackling suicide was a priority and the State Government’s $13 Million Suicide Prevention Strategy was focusing on young people, in particular, on developing community action plans for this at-risk group.
“The plans are developed from the grass roots and include training communities to recognise and respond to suicidal symptoms, practical support services for the bereaved, training for health professionals, youth peer support and leadership development.” Mrs. Morton said.
“Youth Focus is a unique organisation which has made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of young people who are experiencing feelings of helplessness.” Mrs. Morton said.