Port Stephens Youth Counselling Service ‘jupiter’ One Year On

Geoffrey Basser and Jewel Drury of COPSY which runs the jupiter youth service. Photo by Marian Sampson.


2019 was a big year for COPSY the year Port Stephens saw the launch of a new youth mental health and counselling service, ‘jupiter’.

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The organisation is looking forward to 2020 being the year of consolidation and the launch of new school awareness workshops.

These workshops will focus on positive mental health for our youth.

Geoffrey Basser of COPSY told News Of The Area, “Our current business model relies heavily on sub-contracted part-time psychologists.

“COPSY pays them for booked appointments and collects any Medicare rebates to offset those costs.

“The service fills a gap and ensures that our local youth have an accessible, affordable service which they can access without having long wait times or having to deal with any possible stigma.

“The jupiter service has seen 60 individuals for 170 individual counselling since its launch and it is anticipated that this figure will continue to rise,” he said.

As part of the ongoing improvement to the service, COPSY are working on the soundproofing of the two rooms where the service is provided.

COPSY needs to raise $100,000p.a. to continue providing this mental health counselling to Port Stephens youth.

The organisations work is not without government support with the Department of Health NSW agreeing to fund a second extension to December 2020.

This funding will also be used to start the school workshops across Port Stephens.

The jupiter service is delivered by part-time psychologists: Jen Carter, Rhiannon Lang (currently on maternity leave), Claudia Riedell and Jenni Sheridan Lee, an Adolescent Counsellor.

Rebecca Reynolds started with ‘jupiter’ as part of her Master’s in Counselling course, and when she completed she subsequently joined the team as a Psychological Counsellor.

More recently, Jupiter has added a mental health social worker Lisa Swan; and they has placed have a new part-time office manager and counsellor Paul Pearton.The board is considering future internships to psychology students from Newcastle, placed under the supervision of clinical psychologist Melissa Cox who also sits on the COPSY Board.

The course is clear for jupiter; to deliver positive outcomes for youth mental health they need to become sustainable.



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