Mildura Weekly : Friday March 13 2015 Vol 9 No 18
24 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2015 By VINNIE RODI AFTER years of planning and preparation, headspace Mil- dura has this week officially opened its doors to the pub- lic. A ‘one-stop’ service hub for youth aged between 12 and 25, the initiative aims to provide youth and their fami- lies with access to general and mental health information and care, education and vo- cational support and alcohol and other substance use ser- vices. Located at 2/125 Pine Avenue (the former Cottees building), headspace Mildura community awareness and education officer, Mitch Rodd, described the opening as ex- citing for all involved. “We’ve officially opened our doors to the public this week, which is really excit- ing,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, and there has been a lot of planning over a lot of years for a lot of differ- ent people here in Mildura – not to mention a long couple of months for those of us who have started in the New Year waiting for the office to be fin- ished. “It’s great to finally open and be ready to go, and hope- fully we can start seeing a few people come through the door who need help.” Headspace Mildura’s new headquarters has spent close to three months in the con- struction phase, with Lock- star Homes responsible for transforming the old Cottees building into a welcoming space. The two-storey building boasts a number of specially- designed consultation rooms – each with its own theme – with Mr Rodd saying the idea was to provide “a warm, friendly service for people to come in and have a chat.” Intimidating “It can be intimidating for young people to go into a clinical service, so hopefully having this almost homely feel will allow people to talk more about their problems and issues,” he said. “That’s what we want to do, we want to talk to these people in the 12 to 25 age group and help them as much as possible.” Mr Rodd said the organ- isation had also managed to secure the services of a num- ber of private practitioners and youth specialists. “Our consortium agen- cies are also providing their expertise, and we have been really lucky with the support we’ve received from not just our consortium members, but also from the commu- nity in general,” he said. “The next step for us is to get our message out into the community, and try and break a bit of a stigma that we are just here to deal with mental health when there are many strings to our bow.” Headspace Mildura man- ager, Larni Baird, said she was “absolutely elated” to see the doors open to the public. “It’s been a long pro- cess,” she said. “Thankfully the community has been be- hind us from day dot, and we would love to see some peo- ple come through our doors now that we are open.” Ms Baird said gaining ac- cess to headspace Mildura services was “barrier-free,” with those in need of assis- tance able to simply walk through the front door, phone in, or seek referral from their GP. “The aim of headspace is early intervention,” she said. “We want to get in as early as we can, as the earlier people receive help the better and faster the outcome. “Our goal is to help as many people as possible by providing them with access to appropriate services.” In addition to the many support services offered, Ms Baird said IT facilities would also be made available to cre- ate an open and welcoming environment for the region’s youth. Mr Rodd said the service was “really easy to be a part of,” and encouraged people to simply drop in for a chat. “That also goes for family members or friends of some- one in need of support,” he said. “We’re open five days a week, and are happy to have a chat at anytime. “We’ve already had a few referrals come through the door, and we will continue to partner more businesses and events in the future to really get the message out there. “There’s going to be a lot of work to come in terms of getting on board with GP’s re- ferral systems, with plans also in place to hold a few school talks.” Headspace Mildura has been made possible thanks to the support of Mildura Base Hospital, which has been the lead agency working with a community consortium to make the initiative a reality. The consortium comprises Sunraysia Community Health Services, Mallee Accommoda- tion and Support Program, Mildura Rural City Council, Mallee Family Care, Sunray- sia Mallee Ethnic Communi- ties Council, Northern Mal- lee Community Partnerships, Mallee District Aboriginal Ser- vices and MADEC, along with collaborative partnerships with the Northern Mallee Lo- cal Learning and Employment Network and the Department of Justice. ‘Sky’s the limit’ as headspace officially opens its doors • Headspace Mildura community awareness and education officer, Mitch Rodd, and headspace Mildura manager, Larni Baird, celebrate the official opening of the group’s Pine Avenue headquarters this week. 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Friday March 6 2015 Vol 9 No 17
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