As part of Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP’s ongoing plan to deliver more mental health services on the Bayside, this week he reconvened the Bayside Mental Health Working Group.
The over 20 attendees heard from Brisbane South PHN Senior HR Business Partner Melissa Binks and Head of Be Someone for Someone (Initiative of Feros Care) Joanne Winwood who presented social prescribing as an early intervention and prevention approach for youth mental health; a plan tailored to the Bayside.
Throwing his support behind this plan, Mr Vasta said the meeting addressed problematic loneliness amongst young people and how to help them to reconnect with their community through the potential of social prescribing.
“Social connections are the greatest protection against depression and are proven to reduce suicidal behaviour. Young people are the largest cohort of Australian’s experiencing problematic loneliness, so it is critical to not only be recognising this need but responding to it by delivering accessible support services,” Mr Vasta said.
“Taking urgent action to combat loneliness and social isolation amongst youth has widespread social and economic benefits for communities. It supports individuals’ mental health and quality of life and makes these communities stronger.
“Brisbane South PHN and Feros have proposed a co-designed model, seeking feedback from local mental health experts and community providers whose work extends right across our area including (but not limited to) children, men, women, young people, adults, older people, First Nations and LGBTQI+.
“With a deep understanding of what is happening and what needs to be done in our area specifically around early intervention for youth, their feedback has already played a fundamental role in formulating this plan.
“The mental health of our community cannot be underestimated and I look forward to continuing to work with Brisbane South PHN and Feros on this plan for the Bayside.”
Supporting mental health is a key priority of the Morrison Government, who made a $2.3 billion commitment to the sector as part of the recent 2021-22 Federal Budget. The Bayside Mental Health Roundtable forms part of Mr Vasta’s plan to ensure the funding included as part of the Budget will benefit the Bayside.
Do not hesitate to reach out for mental health support. Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through headspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).