Better mental health for youth.


February 10, 2022

The Uniting-run Headspace in Horsham supports young people aged 12-25 to reduce the impact of mental illness and offer an inclusive space for local youth.

The program is designed to help improve mental health outcomes for young people.

It involves people wearing a headset with goggles so they can enter a virtual environment.

“There’s an increasing number of young people needing mental health support and this program allows for an earlier intervention on issues such as depression and anxiety,” says Headspace Horsham Clinical Lead, Sandi McLaughlin.

“Virtual reality has proved a powerful tool and this technology allows young people to recreate reallife experiences in controlled environments where they feel safe, such as at Headspace or at home.

“It equips young people with the tools they need to deal with challenging situations, confront their fears and learn coping strategies to feel better about  themselves and the world around them.”

Sessions include:

  • Working on breathing techniques
  • Scuba Diving and swimming with the dolphins
  • Listening to the sounds of water falling, wind blowing or people chatting
  • Learning about stress, its causes and techniques to better manage it
  • Progressive muscle relaxation.

Facility manager, Liz Rowe said the program, which was designed before the start of the pandemic, has proved a handy tool over the past 2 years.

“In 2019 we rolled out telehealth services because social isolation is not something new when you live in a rural town,” says Liz.

“We had wait lists for local youth seeking help for their mental health, so we looked at how we could deliver services to those in need.

“We’ve had some great results with young people who’ve used the tool so far. Most have found it very valuable.

“We will never take away face-to-face services. This is just another tool in the belt that we can offer young people.”

The Headspace team tackle various issues, including:

  • Mental health
  • Sexual health
  • Alcohol and drug challenges
  • Education, employment and more.

An LGBTIQ+ support program is also available.

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