After years of Lithgow community members pushing for more available services for young people, headspace Lithgow has opened its doors on Main Street.
The new satellite service was funded through the Federal Government's primary health network program with $1 million announced last year.
Nepean Blue Mountains primary health network CEO Lizz Reay said she was pleased to be able to fund the new service with the Federal Government's $1 million dollars.
"The funding will go over three years and includes setting up and the ongoing support for headspace in terms of the staffing and running costs of the centre," she said.
The building renovations were also covered under the funding with $430,000 going into revamp the new site.
"This [headspace] was certainly something that came from the evolution of community consultation, Lithgow tends to miss out and are expected to travel for services so we wanted to make sure it was something really permanent," Ms Reay said.
The new building houses a GP room, kitchen, office, four counselling rooms, a family room and a staff area.
headspace Lithgow centre manager Andrew Meenahan said the building was a comfortable environment and close to home.
"A young person who is having some difficulties is already anxious and stressed, so we have a lovely building which is youth friendly with music playing, bright colours, a lane way entrance and they don't have to travel out of town," he said.
He said headspace was a one stop shop for young people who may be suffering from a mental illness or feeling down or alone.
"If they're under a bit of stress from work or school, maybe being bullied and just need someone to talk to they can come here," he said.
headspace Lithgow also offers physical health services, education and vocational support.
"We're trying to cover the full range of issues that might be confronting young people.
"When people come through the door the first point of contact is to make an appointment and come back for an initial assessment which is one-and-a-half hours with one of our friendly youth care coordinators," Mr Meenahan said.
Currently headspace Lithgow has a clinical lead on need, who is based in Bathurst, two psychologists which visit and three youth care coordinators who are provisional psychologists.
"We're really set up well for what we think will be a significant demand from Lithgow's young populations," Mr Meenahan said.
The first point of contact for clients who walk through the doors of headspace Lithgow, will be program support officer Jessica Cupit.
Ms Cupit said she coordinated appointments, scheduling and most importantly welcomed people.
"Young people may be nervous coming here and if they are given the wrong impression they are less likely to come back, we want to get away from the clinical stigma and be more welcoming," she said.
Mr Meenahan said he wanted headspace Lithgow to eventually develop a network of family and friends.
"We're really focused on making it a service for young people and we're driven by their needs.
"We want to work closely with other services such as Lithgow High's Wellness Hub, which would be an important partnership," he said.
Marathon Health executive of quality and governance Bryan Hoolahan said, with Lithgow having a high youth suicide rate it was vital that services worked together to reduce it.
"Any youth suicide is an incredible tragedy and the further West you go the higher the rate, so we need to work as hard as we can to reduce this complex issue.
"If headspace can play a part in trying to reduce it then that's what we want to do," he said.
With five centres and two satellite services including Lithgow headspace, Mr Hoolahan said every time a new centre was opened it was a positive experience.
"It's really exciting and having this centre positioned in the Main Street is critical to make sure people see we are here. It's been driven by community need, so we hope we will be a welcome addition," he said.
Mr Hoolahan said there was never enough money for rural and mental because it was a massive issue but he would like to see more headspace centres out West.
"Lithgow is very fortunate to get this early intervention service so we want to encourage young people to seek help and come and talk to us even if it's something as simple as exam stress, so they don't end up in crisis situations, that's our main goal," he said.
headspace Lithgow is now open for services and an official opening launch will take place in the coming months.
"We're only having a soft launch because we want to get all our processes right but the phones have been ringing and people have been coming in so we're really confident that we'll have full books and a busy case load," Mr Meenahan said.
To contact headspace Lithgow call 6352 7600, email email@example.com or drop into 23 Main St Lithgow.
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