YOUNG people who feel isolated and depressed through the summer holidays and family members unsure how to respond to their distress have the opportunity to take advantage of free mental health services in Ellenbrook.
Youth Focus youth and family counsellor Philip Gatt said the Ellenbrook Enhanced Youth Services Project was being provided through Youth Focus, with an aim to provide a range of potentially life-saving services.
Mr Gatt works at the City of Swan offices located in the Ellenbrook Community Library.
“Around 75 per cent of all mental illnesses first occur in young people under the age of 25,” Mr Gatt said.
“And sadly, we still lose at least one young West Australian to suicide each week.
“However, Youth Focus utilises an early intervention model that ensures young people and their families are given the support they need to transform their lives and have the opportunity to become resilient adults.”
Mr Gatt said that for some young people, the school holidays meant a time to escape school-based issues that might arise from bullying, social isolation and peer pressure.
“But, it can also be a time when their school support structures are not available and some young people struggle with mental health issues,” he said.
“Young people need to know that services are readily available and that they will get the counselling and care they need.
“Family members also need to know that support is there for them too, especially at this time of year.
“Family counselling helps to identify ways that family members can best help their loved ones.”
The State Government announced the project on September 1, with a funding allocation of $123,200 to provide a range of youth mental health, youth and family counselling, and education services to the local community.
It provides a collaborative approach with existing service providers in the community.
Youth Focus, with support from the Department of Local Government and Communities and its partners, is implementing the project in partnership with headspace Midland and the City of Swan.
“The cause of suicidal ideation and behaviours, self-harming and associated mental health concerns are complex and include psychological, biological and environmental factors,” Mr Gatt said.
“The Ellenbrook Enhanced Services Project ensures there is a comprehensive strategy that builds capacity and provides a community owned safety net for those young people and families at risk.”
The project is being managed by Youth Focus, which works to help 12-25 year olds and their families with mental health issues and prevent youth suicide.
For more information about the Ellenbrook project and other Youth Focus services, please call 6266 4333.