Headspace helps build careers but not in Wyong

Rosemary Tropiano

Headspace Lake Haven and Gosford are using Mental Health Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about their Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program.

This program helps clients of the service find meaningful employment and study opportunities no matter where they are in their mental health journey.

The service includes vocational support planning, professional resume writing and skills building, and ongoing employment support and mentoring.

The IPS program works in with the client’s clinician throughout their entire employment journey.

Rosemary Tropiano is one client who has found work through the program, becoming involved when she turned to headspace to seek help for anxiety, which was compounded by the loss of her job.

Thanks to the service and encouragement from her IPS Vocational Specialist, she has now landed her dream job in IT support.

“I really wanted a job in the IT industry, but I thought my standards for a job were way too high.

“When I called her, all worried about the interview, she relieved my anxiety and made me feel confident.

“She really made the difference.

“Against all the odds, I got my dream job in IT support.

“I now work for an amazing company that is willing to train me from the ground up and that values my input.

“I’ll always be grateful for how the team at headspace let me make my own decisions and considered my feelings when helping me make decisions,” Tropiano said.

Tropiano is one of more than 200 local young people on the Central Coast who have found employment and study opportunities through th IPS program, which is funded by the Department of Social Services.

Headspace also offers a Work a Study Service where participants can receive support from a Work and Study Specialist with searching and applying for jobs, preparing resumes and cover letters, career planning, support for transitioning from school to the workforce, navigating Centrelink and other government support options as well as balancing mental health and wellbeing with work or study.

They have a Career Mentoring Service where participants work with a mentor to develop industry specific skills, access advice around work, employer expectations and career progression as well as growing professional networks, understanding the recruitment process and improving professional communications skills and career confidence.

More information about these programs can be found at https://headspace.org.au/.

Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride, said she was still trying to get answers from the Government about when headspace would open in Wyong

“It’s been two long years since the Morrison Government first promised a headspace at Wyong but despite the long wait, we still don’t have an opening date,” she said.

“In the week before the 2019 election, the Government announced $1.5M for headspace Wyong, and they’ve since confirmed it would be up and running by 2021/22.

“It’s now October, which is national Mental Health Awareness Month, and Coasties still don’t know when headspace Wyong will open.

“There is a desperate need for more mental health services on the Coast, especially for young people,” McBride said.

“It’s been more than two years since the announcement, demand is surging, waiting times are growing and we still don’t have a date.

“In the middle of a pandemic, demand for mental health services has never been greater and long wait times for headspace at Lake Haven and Gosford mean more young people are at risk.

“It’s particularly tough for Year 12 students who are getting ready for their HSC exams, and McBride says lockdown is only adding to their stress.

“These students need support and certainty, now.

“To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness month, I’m asking the Government to step up and be clear about when headspace Wyong will open.

“Coasties can’t afford to wait any longer, this is urgent.”

A response to inquiries by the Chronicle to government departments was not received before publication.

Harry Mulholland