An innovative and effective program to help young people with mental health issues to find employment will be rolled out in Dubbo in coming months.
Headspace has secured funding to run an Individual Placement Support (IPS) program at 15 locations across Australia and Dubbo is one of three in NSW that has been chosen.
The new program will assist existing and new headspace clients in finding and keeping long-term employment.
“It will give a much, much greater level of employment support to people aged 15-25, who are coming through the headspace service,” Marathon Health child and youth mental health manager Peter Rohr said.
David Floyd and Cath Robinson have come on board as vocational specialists, based at headspace’s Church Street office and will start working with clients soon.
It has been just over two years since headspace opened in Dubbo and Mr Rohr said in that time they had seen a need for additional services relating to employment.
“If you look at any community where the youth unemployment rate is higher than national unemployment, any time where you can add additional support is a benefit,” he said.
“Having a young person engage in work or training school we know is a very important factor in mental health so we see it as a real benefit.”
Mr Floyd said they could be working with people froma variety of backgrounds including school students who were preparing for a career, or someone who already has employment experience but has struggled to stay in a job.
“As well a a breadth of things that can contribute to mental health issues, unemployment is a fairly key one. Being able to address that specifically can make a significant difference,” he said.
“Those kids who are risk of disengaging from education or employment are ones we really want to target,” Ms Robinson added.
One of the important differences with IPS, Mr Rohr said, is that it is targeted for individuals and different goals for each client.
Headspace Dubbo youth access and awareness officer Nic Steepe said having additional support in the same building would strengthen headspace’s ability to help.
“Over the last two years employment has been a core strength and we have built links with employment agencies but our team is very excited to work alongside David and Cath and see what comes about,” he said.
“It should benefit our existing clients as well as new referrals that come in.”
Anyone who thinks they would benefit from the IPS can contact headspace Dubbo on 5852 1900 for more information.