Oakeshott will work to bring a headspace Plus service to Coffs and Nambucca | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper

Independent candidate for Cowper, Rob Oakeshott, says he regards headspace Plus as a crucial piece of an overall youth strategy for the Mid North Coast. After detailed consultation with 2010 Australian of the Year, Professor Pat McGorry, Oakeshott is motivated to make Coffs Harbour one of six proposed headspace cluster sites offering critical extra services.

(Meeting with Bronwyn Chalmers and Dr Nicola Holmes from Coffs headspace) 

The headspace Plus initiative is a national reform that provides solutions to some of the challenges being faced by the current headspace model. My meetings with the headspace team in Coffs Harbour gave me an understanding of how their service gets overloaded with moderate to severe cases. This makes it very difficult for them to do very important preventative mental health care," Mr Oakeshott said.

"As Professor McGorry explains it, headspace is meant to provide primary care, headspace Plus will strengthen and deepen that service. This means better management of the moderate to severe caseload and, in turn, a freeing up of resources for outreach, engagement and preventative work.

Mental health and youth services are at breaking point. I know many wonderful services throughout the region, like the Nambucca Youthie, do really good work on the smell of an oily rag. The staff in these organisations are exhausted and limited in their capacity to do more," said Oakeshott.

This is a big challenge for the overall health of our local communities. Young people need to feel safe, and supported in pursuing their goals. They need an environment where mistakes and failure aren’t the end of the world and they need to know adults are looking out for them and supporting them.

But even with the best support from family, friends and community groups there are times when back-up is needed from organisations like headspace and other health services. It is vital that this back-up is able to engage in a timely and thorough manner so that problems aren't allowed to escalate and become more complicated to deal with," Oakeshott said.

I am therefore backing the headspace Plus model for Coffs/Nambucca, and will be twisting arms to see if we can extend the service into the Macleay/Hastings region. It is a winner."

For further details, please contact Deb Spillane

E: media@oakeshott.com.au

M: 0418 603513