Subjects: Headspace, Youth mentors, Fraser Anning
Ken Wyatt: … a great region to be representing; it’s a great community.
But more importantly, the team here at headspace is an outstanding team that makes a great contribution. So, welcome to Midland.
Paul Fletcher: Thank you. Thank you very much, Ken.
It's great to be with you, with the hardworking, very effective federal Member for Hasluck. And of course, Ken is a very busy minister as Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health. It’s terrific to be here with you, Ken, in your electorate.
And it's terrific to be here at headspace in Midland. I want to just talk for a moment about why it is we're making the announcement we are in relation to individual placement and support.
When I became Minister for Families and Social Services, which was only a few months ago, one of the very first places I went to was a headspace in Hobart.
And they had an existing individual placement and support program underway. And I had the chance to meet with a number of the workers, the headspace workers there, the lady who was managing the overall operation, they have a GP there, they had youth workers, social workers and so on.
And I was very struck by something that the GP said. She was talking about individual placement and support, and young people who had come in because of mental health issues and who they’d then managed to move into the IPS program.
And her exact words to me were: if we can get somebody into IPS and get them into education, training or a job; that is more effective in dealing with their mental health issues than any clinical intervention I can offer. So [audio skip], that’s sitting on my desk was a proposal to increase the funding that we were providing for individual placement and support.
And of course, the whole idea of it is that when young people come into a headspace seeking assistance with the mental health challenge that they may be facing. Naturally, you'll sit down with them, you’ll start to work with them on a program to help them deal with their issues.
But it's an obvious and natural point to say: what's happening in the rest your life? How’s work going, how’s school going?
And it then becomes a way to identify if a young person, perhaps maybe staying in their room every day and hasn't gone out for six months or months.
As I understand – and I've heard directly from people in a number of headspaces around the country – can be a real problem.
You have some mental health challenges: schools isn't going so well, drop out of school or perhaps finish school, but then making that next step becomes harder and more daunting, and everything builds on itself.
So when a young person makes the step to come to headspace and seek that help and encouragement in first dealing with their mental health issues, then it’s an obvious and natural point to say: okay, what about where you want to go in life?
What about training? Are you involved in any training? Are you involved in education? Have you thought about what you might want to do? What about work?
And I have been struck in the headspaces I’ve been into, and I’ve probably been able to visit six or seven now around the country, in Tassie, as I said; in different parts of New South Wales; Victoria, and so on.
The number of success stories I’ve heard about; in Gosford, when we announced an additional funding for headspace there, we had a young lady who, I guess, she was probably maybe 22–23.
She stood up and talked about her journey, how’d she come to headspace. She’d had has bullying issues at school [audio skip] headspace.
She’d got into a training course, and now she runs her own interior design business; just a fantastic story. And I've heard similar stories around the country because that's anecdote.
But the quantitative evidence also shows that this program is working. So that's why we were very pleased to allocate some additional funding in 16 headspaces around the country.
The program will continue for another two years, and in ten, headspaces, including here in Midland; there will now be funded for IPS going 1 July 2019, through to 30 June 2021.
And so, I am very pleased to announce that funding. I want to congratulate Ken for his advocacy; really made the care that his was an area where there was a real need.
So can I say: delighted to be announcing that funding and I look forward in the brief time we have this morning, hopefully to be hearing from the people about how you plan to use that and the clients you hope to serve with that.
But can I say, congratulations to headspace. It’s a terrific program. I should acknowledge Arthur, and your role, Arthur Papakotsias with Youth Focus, of course, the organisation that delivers headspace.
We’re delighted as a Government to be partnering with you. And very pleased with what’s been achieved and I’m personally very excited about what’s going to be achieved here at headspace in Midland.
There it is, and I suppose, are we going to hear from you, Arthur?
Ken Wyatt: Arthur, we should [indistinct].
Arthur Papakotsias: Look, just on behalf of Youth Focus, our headspace site here and our partners, I just want to personally thank Minister Wyatt and Minister Fletcher for their attention and the investment of this particular program.
I’m very fond of this particular program because when I talk to young people the thing that often seems to be lacking in their lives is a sense of purpose and meaning, and that purpose and meaning often comes from having a valued role in society.
And that valued role is often about having access to employment opportunities.
There’s something really special about the IPS model that I’m particularly attracted to, which is it really is about the preference of the young person in terms of their own journey and where they want to work and what kind of work they want to do.
And in some cases, their first step towards employment - given that they may have been out of employment for a long time - may be a difficult one.
It may be via some education and training programs; it may be through a whole lot of processes.
But the great thing about the IPS is it provides a wrap around support. It integrates mental health and employment and it provides really great outcomes - there’s been a lot of research on IPS internationally; it’s been rolled out across numerous places in Australia; and it really is about the future.
In the old days, people used to have to go through one graduated program to another until they met the holy grail of being employment ready.
And thankfully those days have gone and it’s now about trying to really uncover and discover the hopes, wishes, and aspirations of young people about their employment future, place them in there, support the employer, support the young person and provide them with both integrated mental health and employment support services.
We have IPS in Albany and it’s proven to be extremely successful, and I can guarantee you this program will also be very, very successful.
So, on behalf of Youth Focus, our partners, and also all the clients that use this service, thank you very much to both of you. Thank you.
Ken Wyatt: Thank you very much.
Are there any questions of Minister Fletcher at all from the media people here?
Paul Fletcher: Or of Minister Wyatt, [indistinct]?
Question: In terms- regards to those 10 other trials, where are the other trials around Australia for the IPS?
Paul Fletcher: They’re located in a range of places. I can tell you that two of them are in Bourke and in Gosford. So, in total- it was 16.
The additional funding extends those 16 for two years and adds another 10, including this one. So, it’s locations like Bourke, Gosford, Hobart - really all around the country.
Question: And regional areas?
Paul Fletcher: Yeah, very much regions - so, Bourke, for example.
Both Bourke and Gosford are regional areas. And we certainly do find that there’s a unique set of challenges for young people in regional areas in moving into the workforce and moving into further training and employment - you know, not quite so easy to get access to a training institution or tertiary institution.
But again, with IPS support, young people can be helped in finding ways to get access to training institutions - online training, for example.
And so just as important - in fact, arguably even more important in regional areas, and that’s why a number of them are in regional areas.
Questions: And Midland’s a high Indigenous-populated area. Are Indigenous youths one of your guys’ target [indistinct]?
Ken Wyatt: Yes, it is. And I made reference to Swan City Youth partnering with headspace because Indigenous people move between both centres.
Recently Minister Greg Hunt and I announced additional funding for Swan City Youth, but partnering with headspace in order to provide a continuum of intervention between both locations. And it’s critical and it’s important.
Question: And how are you going to engage with Indigenous youths?
Ken Wyatt: With the- with both organisations, Indigenous people are involved, and certainly there was a recent announcement in respect to headspace with youth ambassadors.
And so for the Kimberley region, there are two youth ambassadors - Montana and Jacob - who are working with young people who are considering suicide or considering that the fires of living are starting to go out. And their role is to provide the level of peer support, intervention, and connectivity to the relevant services.
One size doesn’t fit all, and that’s why each location is unique; the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each location is particularised to the needs that are emerging.
And hopefully, we will have a number of models right across this nation that impact for all young people in a way that engages them, reignites that flame of life, and gives them that sense of purpose and direction.
Paul Fletcher: Can I just pick up one point that Ken made there - because the headspace is already in place and have already established connections into their local communities and are a trusted place for young people, including young Indigenous people, to come in to, then it makes a lot of sense to overlay the IPS on top of that existing set of relationships.
So, to be able to say in a very natural way to a young person as they start to receive treatment and support in terms of a mental health condition, to then say: well, let’s think about another step.
But doing it in a measured way, as Arthur was talking about. Not hitting people all at once with: okay, what’s your plan for a job?
But doing it step by step at a time when it works for them.
Unidentified Speaker: Any other questions?
Question: I’ve got some questions about some other topics for Ken. Is that alright?
Paul Fletcher: [Talks over] Let’s just see if there’s any other questions on headspace?
Question: I think I’ve got what I need on headspace, thank you.
You were talking about youth suicides in the Kimberley. You’ve been in the Kimberley [indistinct] Perth giving funding for Indigenous youth suicides.
Are there other regions in WA that you’re looking at targeting, like the Pilbara or the Goldfields?
Ken Wyatt: We’re targeting the whole state. I’m working very closely with the Honourable Roger Cook, who is the WA health Minister; and with Ben Wyatt who has the portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs.
That also included the Honourable Simone McGurk, because it’s not just a Commonwealth or state issue. It is also a community issue and we need to consider where we have challenges in the way in which young people see their lives going.
And in the Kimberley when we had the recent Kimberley trial site meeting, I was [indistinct] by the fact that each community have appointed community liaison officers who are now working with young people.
Montana and Jacob are the two youth ambassadors, one for East Kimberley, one for West.
Now, we’re also- Senator Scullion, as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, has provided Adele Cox and her group with funding as well to undertake both the intervention and preventative approaches to impacting on people with suicide thinking within their mindsets.
So, it's a joined-up effort. It's an important way in which we address, but community is critical to whatever it is that we’ve put into place.
Question: And what's your reaction to the death in Queensland [indistinct] in 40 hours?
Ken Wyatt: All deaths have an impact, and those deaths impact because there’s immediacy(*) of impact on family and loved ones.
The unexplained reasons, in some instances, tear the hearts of people; the impact on the community because it's another loss of life within their community. And any loss of life, from my perspective and that of Paul’s and any of us in any tier of government, really troubles us significantly.
Somewhere, we have failed a young person through whatever avenues there are. But we're trying to engage as many people as possible to become the support wraparound networks.
I heard a young man in Darwin talk about the four elements, but one element he talked about was the element of fire.
He said: what happens sometimes – and he described it this way – he said what happens sometimes is if we don't look after the fire of life and the fire by stoking it with those things that keep it nurtured, then it dwindles.
It then dies or it reaches a critical point in which somebody makes that decision that none of us fully comprehends. He then described it as keeping the fires healthy, alive and well by the wraparound support that we give.
Question: I do have some comments about Fraser Anning. What’s your reaction to his comments to the Christchurch incident?
Ken Wyatt: Well, my reaction is this: we've lost family members within that community, and every death there is a tragedy and the circumstances under which it occurred is appalling.
Now, any of us should focus on the needs of those affected. The position taken by Senator Anning was not one that I would expect of any Australian.
And I'm not going to go into commentary around what he said other than to say that as a nation, we have always stood beside New Zealand, through two wars and other campaigns, and the same should apply in this circumstance.
Our minds and hearts should be turned towards the families of those who were impacted by a terrible context in which a lone individual made a decision based on his perception of a race of people, and that should never have happened.
Question: And what are your thoughts about mainstream media contributed to this?
Ken Wyatt: Look, I think- I will comment on this. I think there has been sufficient debate in the last couple of days around the media's role as well and how the media itself has to make some judgments about the way in which messages are portrayed.
This country has not been a country that focuses on hatred. It is much more accepting than what is sometimes portrayed through some of the media stories that reach into our living rooms.
It's great to have freedom of speech but equally, we have an obligation to make sure that we have the respect for others and that we consider that differences are not the challenge to our way of life.
The challenge of those individuals regardless of ethnicity, including Australians: making judgements that are intended to harm or hurt.
So collectively, we, as a nation, have to think about all individuals because we are a very successful multicultural nation, and that multiculturalism started in 1788 and has continued to flourish because we have walked beside each other.
Unidentified Speaker: Thank you.