Students gain access to mental health support

AHeadspace walk-in service has been established at Millicent High School, which offers free and easy access to mental health support for students.

Headspace community engagement officer and youth worker Nick McInerney said part of the demand management funding the organisation received during COVID was for Headspace to implement walk-in services.

Mental health private practitioner Linda CarterShepherd said the service offered therapeutic support and the school had provided a very welcoming space.

“They can have issues of anything from anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, whatever is coming up for them at that moment,” Ms CarterShepherd said.

“The idea with single-session therapy is that a child or a young person can leave that session being given the tools to help in that situation.”

Ms CarterShepherd said the service allowed students to have appointments without a mental health care plan, which could be challenging to obtain.

“Being regionally isolated, even from Mount Gambier, a lot of them (students) do not have access to transport or services locally as well, so it’s great they’re able to access that on school site,” Mr McInerney said.

Ms CarterShepherd said she had been very busy during her two weeks at the service, which showed the demand was extremely high.

“So now it’s up to us as a service and as a community to respond appropriately to those demands,” she said.

Ms CarterShepherd said there would be a pathway of referral for further assistance if needed, such as seeing her under a GP mental health care plan or a referral to Headspace.

The walk-in service is available on Wednesdays for Millicent High School students and the Millicent Community Learning Centre, with the potential to expand if needed.

A walk-in service at Mount Gambier Headspace is also open Mondays and Fridays.

People wanting to reach out can contact the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, Lifeline 131 114 and Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

Anyone bereaved or impacted by suicide, can contact StandBy Support After Suicide on 1300 727 247.

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