Online youth counselling a first for regional WA

Mental health organisation Youth Focus has launched an internet calling service for remote and rural face-to-face web counselling.

The service aims to assist in suicide prevention and is based in Northam.

The Youth Focus initiative offers young people access to experienced mental health doctors in their towns with free and confidential face-to-face web counselling for regional WA.

Chief Executive officer of Youth Focus Fiona Kalaf says they are proud to be the organisation behind this service that will help improve youth mental health.

“This type of mental health counselling has never before been offered in WA.”

Ms Kalaf says the service is available to referred patients between 12 and 25 years regardless of race, gender or religion.

Referred patients are able to book an appointment at a nearby facility and use an iPad in a confidential area for their face-to-face counselling session.

Ms Kalaf says the youth program only launched in Northam today but will soon be available in Dalwallinu and Bridgetown.

“By the end of this calendar year we will have placed 20 locations.

“We are just working with various communities and schools at the moment to secure the best locations and the most safe and secure locations for young people.”

This program was trialled in 2016 previously with success in a number of schools.

Headspace senior clinical practice advisor Nick Duigan says it is important to have regional and remote mental counselling services.

“Young People who live in regional and remote areas of the country can often struggle being in a small community, where everyone knows everyone, particularly if they are struggling with mental health,” he says.

Headspace is another organisation in WA which offers regional and remote communities access to mental health counselling.

Mr Duigan says in remote communities they do not always have direct counselling services available to them so having online support accessible to young people is important.

“Having mental health support services like Headspace in these areas helps to connect the centre into the community and normalise help-seeking behaviors for issues affecting young people such as anxiety, depression, bullying or relationship issues.”

Ms Kalaf says Youth Focus does not offer culturally-specific counselling but they do offer culturally-sensitive help available to any young person.

Seeking help can sometimes seem daunting but Mr Duigan believes it is necessary and says it can take courage to seek help for mental health but it really does help.

People aged 12-25 seeking help for a mental health problem should contact Headspace.


Categories: Youth

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