The provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Public Health Network, Wentworth Healthcare, has announced an interim mental health support program targeted at young people in Lithgow while the new headspace service is established.
The program will allow Lithgow residents between the ages of 12-25 to access up to 12 sessions of low cost psychological services once referred by a GP.
Only young people who are listed as dependents on a health care card, or who have their own health care card, are eligible.
Five mental health workers including a mental health nurse, social worker and three psychologists based in Lithgow are accessible through the program.
In a press release Wentworth Healthcare said the program was developed in response to, “the high rates of psychological distress among youth in the area.”
“It is important that young people in Lithgow experiencing psychological distress can access the support they need, while we work with headspace to establish the service in the coming months,” Wentworth Healthcare CEO Lizz Reay said.
Another aspect of the program, set up in collaboration with Lithgow High School, is that students attending the school will be able to access two sessions with mental health workers upon recommendation of the school’s counsellor. After which they can see a GP for assessment and referral.
“Early intervention is critical, which is why support like this in Lithgow High School is so important,” Ms Reay said.
The referral program will be run through the school’s newly created ‘Well-being Centre’.
“Through a careful process we’ve engaged some of the agencies in town and in the local community to work with our students on site around various issues ranging from health, mental health, social skills and well being concerns so the kids don’t have to leave school, we are actually providing some of those services at the school,” principal Ann Caro said.
“It is a really pleasing partnership between local mental Health services and the High school.”
Wentworth Healthcare’s announcement coincides with the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, which schools are participating in on Friday, March 16.
La Salle Academy students will wear orange sashes and dedicate class time to the topic of bullying. Lithgow Public and Lithgow High students are donning blue mufti to mark the day and will donate gold coins to Resilience 2018.
A spokesperson for Wentworth Healthcare said young people without a health care card can also access subsidized psychological services through Medicare.
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