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Radio interview with Assistant Minister McBride and Richard Perno, LA FM – April 22, 2024 | Ministers of the Health Portfolio

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RICHARD PERNO, LA FM: The Assistant Minister for Health, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, The Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health. My God. Emma McBride, your plate is full, isn’t it?

EMMA MCBRIDE, ASSISTANT PRIME MINISTER: It’s good to be with you this morning.

RICHARD PERNO: And you, thanks for calling. You know, you and I were just talking, right? We looked at some footage from Bondi yesterday as they came together to try and get to grips with this. This happens every day, doesn’t it, Emma? In mental health, we have moved beyond stigma. We’ve passed that barrier that says to those who are suffering, look, it’s okay to come forward. Today you’re going to open the gates to a new headspace, correct?

EMMA MCBRIDE: That’s right. I’m so happy to be back in Launceston. And as you said, I would firstly like to express my thoughts to the people of Bondi and it was to see the community coming together in their grief and mourning, I think as Prime Minister Chris Minns says, it is so It’s important to come together at times like this. And we see an increasing need throughout the community, especially among young people. And recent ABS data has suggested that young people aged 16 to 24 are experiencing the highest rates of mental health problems of all Australians. That is why the government is investing in expanding and strengthening the headspace network. And I’m so happy to be able to reopen headspace Launceston, which opened in 2009 and today offers an expanded service in a new location.

RICHARD PERNO: That says a lot, doesn’t it, Emma? You have moved and expanded the location. It’s almost necessary now to not have walls anymore, because this won’t end, right?

EMMA MCBRIDE: And this is what we’re trying to do. We know that young people are in need. This happened before the COVID-19 pandemic. We had seen an increase in need among young people and that has accelerated. So what we plan to do is grow that network of headspaces. We currently have 160. We will increase that number to 173, including an additional headspace on the east coast of Hobart, which will have an early psychosis unit, which will particularly help those younger people at an early age, because we know that early intervention can reduce severity and duration. of mental ill health.

RICHARD PERNO: No one has passed by this building, main room, without thinking: what is it? What’s going on in this building in Launnie?

EMMA MCBRIDE: Headspace therefore offers four different services to young people. One of these is mental health care. And that could be talk therapy or other support for young people. They also provide associated physical health support, which is so important in our mental health, alcohol and other drug support. We know that dependence and addiction can affect many people. And also vocation support. We know that working and learning are so important to your overall mental health and wellbeing.


EMMA MCBRIDE: So Headspace provides holistic, comprehensive support across these four key pillars, which makes such a difference to young people. And we know that young people in the regions traditionally have less access to support. So having something closer to home that is free, where they don’t need a referral or appointment, makes such a difference to young people.

RICHARD PERNO: So you can just call?


RICHARD PERNO: Is that how it works? And Emma, ​​there’s a problem with children who are in regional… and you’re an assistant minister, especially in regional health, because they don’t want… oh look at that. They’re well-known and stigmatized and separated from the rest of the city, right? But you have to break this down. This down.

EMMA MCBRIDE: We do. And I think a lot of stigma has been broken in the mental health field. I first started working in mental health over twenty years ago as a pharmacist in acute inpatient adult care. And I think through a lot of public health campaigns, we’ve seen a big reduction in stigma, especially around depression and anxiety. But I think the stigma still persists for the more complex and long-term mental health issues. And it’s something as a society that I know people are working to reduce.


EMMA MCBRIDE: But it still persists.

RICHARD PERNO: Well, when you live in a small town, everyone knows everyone. And the last thing you need is to be separated from the rest of the crowd because you have some kind of mental problem.

EMMA MCBRIDE: And as part of that, we offer e-headspace so that a young person can access e-headspace on the phone or online in their own home or in a safe place, and young people can access e-headspace on Or they can also call 1-800-650-890 for a confidential and secure consultation over the phone or online, if that is their preference, due to their personal circumstances or the situation in their own community.

RICHARD PERNO: Emma, ​​tell us why you decided to renovate and improve Launceston? There has been an increase in those using headspace, and that tells a story in itself, doesn’t it?

EMMA MCBRIDE: There has been an increase in demand for headspace services across the country. And we have especially seen that in this part of Tasmania. We know that Launceston has already served 726 young people more than 5,244 times in the period 2022-2024. It is important that this concerns 373 new young people. That is why we strengthen and expand the network of headspaces. And this year alone, the government is spending $290 million on that network of headspaces to strengthen existing headspaces like Launceston to meet that demand and also to set up new headspaces in communities that haven’t been able to do that yet. them before.

RICHARD PERNO: And Emma, ​​when you say young, we’re talking about 16 year olds, right?

EMMA MCBRIDE: Headspace is therefore suitable for every young person from 12 to 25 years old…

RICHARD PERNO: (Interrupts) 12 years old. What did you do when you were 12? I know what I did with 12. I didn’t worry about anything. I went tadpole hunting and that was about it.

EMMA MCBRIDE: And this is what we’re seeing: we’re seeing mental health issues emerge earlier in life and become more severe. And that’s why we really need to strengthen Headspace so that it can meet the demands of younger people, and the changing complexity of the kinds of reasons why they come to a headspace service.

RICHARD PERNO: That also calls into question their relationship with even their parents, doesn’t it, that they can’t turn to them for help? They should go to a neutral place like Headspace.

EMMA MCBRIDE: We still believe that headspace is a safe and welcoming place, and it is a place where every young person can come and get the comprehensive support and care they need.

RICHARD PERNO: Also no judgement, no judgement.

EMMA MCBRIDE: That’s right. And that’s so important that someone can go there and know that they’re getting the right kind of support and care, as well as being connected to ongoing services if they need them.

RICHARD PERNO: Yes, and they’ll need them for the rest of their lives, right?

EMMA MCBRIDE: With earlier interventions and the right kind of support and care, some of these problems can be solved. And that’s why it’s so important to have these services for young people. But some know that mental health problems occur occasionally and can affect people at different times in their lives. That’s why we also work on services for adults. And I had the opportunity to be able to be in Launceston to officially open the Head to Health adult service, which again is free, where someone can walk in without a referral or an appointment and get support and care. And it is open to every adult aged 18 and over.

RICHARD PERNO: And Emma, ​​the thing is, if we don’t save them when they’re 12, 13 or 14, we’re going to get into all kinds of conflict, right?

EMMA MCBRIDE: We are. And this is something that affects the individual, it affects households, it affects communities, and it also affects the economy. The Productivity Commission has shown that the impact, in dollar terms, of chronic and persistent mental health problems in Australia. But we really need to address this, because we need to ensure that every young Australian can get the support and care they need, close to home, when they need it. And we know that when they reach into the headspace, they are at their most vulnerable. So we need to ensure that, through comprehensive services like here in Launceston, we have access to that care closer to home.

RICHARD PERNO: Your job will never end. You know that, don’t you? You will always be needed.

EMMA MCBRIDE: Well, I think what really makes me optimistic is when I visit these services and meet the mental health professionals in those communities. And I want to recognize them – the mental health social workers, the occupational therapists, the First Nations health workers – the work they do every day with young people in Launceston and at the three other headspaces in Tasmania is really making a real difference. And I know they work under pressure, but we try to give them the most support to do their work effectively.

RICHARD PERNO: I’ll let you go and do yours today. The Honorable Emma McBride, Assistant Minister for Mental Health Suicide Prevention. We also need to talk more about suicide, don’t we, Emma? Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, you have a huge task to open the newly renovated and improved headspace in Launceston. Good to see you. Thanks for calling. Bye.

EMMA MCBRIDE: Thank you.