AN Early Support Centre with counselling and other support services are on the agenda to support Port Stephens youth dealing with mental health issues.
Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth (COPSY) convened an expert steering group last week to consider what it should focus on to improve mental health services for youth in Port Stephens.
Geoffrey Basser, who sits on the COPSY executive committee, told News Of The Area, “It is imperative that we act now to assist Port Stephens youth in relation to mental health issues.”
It was agreed that COPSY would focus on high school youth because they are most at risk.
Youth over 18 years are usually more self-sufficient, don’t need as much parental support, can access medical professionals more easily and can drive so transport to appointments is less of an issue.
COPSY is actively pursuing possible easier to access locations and complementary transport options suggested by the review group.
The focus of the meeting was on an early support centre with on-site counselling service available and this to be complemented with a series of intervention and preventative workshops, seminars, and forums in schools and community settings rather than possible promotion and awareness initiatives.
The centre would be a place that young people would know about and be able to access service through.
There are already many groups reducing the stigma of mental health but the services are not there to back them up.
By Marian SAMPSON