READY TO ROLL: The Grafton Headspace team gave the public a sneak peek at their setup and are aiming to open next month as a one-stop shop for Clarence youth.
READY TO ROLL: The Grafton Headspace team gave the public a sneak peek at their setup and are aiming to open next month as a one-stop shop for Clarence youth.

Headspace Grafton ready to launch

THE Clarence Valley's long awaited Headspace has a scheduled launch date next month.

The national youth mental health body is working towards a launch on December 11 with services to start the day after.

Centre manager Jason Grimes is keen to stress that while the Headspace name brings community expectation and a name brand, his goal is to bring the entire Valley together.

"What it does is marry up the existing services as well as provide an access point for young people to general health practitioners, allied practitioners such as dietitians, psychologists, GPs that are on-site, as well as have our consortium partners, CHESS, CRANES, ODCP, The Buttery, who will be on site once a week and be able to have those appointments," he said.

"Referrals can go both ways, existing services can refer to Headspace for more specialised services for mental health, and we can identify and run two streams - if young people who have issues with mental health and have other needs we can address those - like a one-stop shop."

Your first look at Grafton's new Headspace: Take a tour of the Grafton Headspace facility a month before opening
Your first look at Grafton's new Headspace: Take a tour of the Grafton Headspace facility a month before opening

The Headspace service came as a response to a rise in the rate of youth suicide locally, and Mr Grimes said already a lot of wonderful services had come to the Clarence to help, and said that Headspace acted as a complement to many of them.

"The Headspace name is well known and trusted and a lot of young people identify through social media, so it's a good way to get people who might be hesitant to get services that they're not aware of," he said.

It would have youth access workers on at all times who are clinicians, and people who came in for mental health purposes would be assessed to see what needs are most important, and their needs can be followed up.

Psychologists will also be on-site, initially for a few days a week.

"The unique thing about Headspace is we are youth driven, our ideas come from a youth reference group based from young people around the Clarence Valley," Mr Grimes said.

"They help identify with us the needs with regards to mental health, employment, education, drug and alcohol use and sexual education."

The centre opened its doors for a sneak peek to the public on Monday to show people the work in progress on the old community centre.

Mr Grimes said many questions came from the public about their expectations for what the centre would bring to the area.

"For us it was about addressing those expectations and showing a realistic path, we're not the panacea, we're not going to fix all the mental health issues, but we can help," he said.

"We're also not a youth drop-in service, it's not a hangout, and obviously people can come here to get information but it has a specific purpose, and there was some confusion over that."