The federal government has extended two programs dedicated to helping young people with mental illness in Geelong, Ballarat and Melton to join the workforce.
The $45.7 million funding will be used to double the number of headspace sites running the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support Program to 50 and to support headspace to continue the Digital Work and Study Service.
Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson said Individual Placement and Support Programs would now be run at the Geelong, Ballarat and Melton headspace sites, along with the existing site at Bendigo, thanks to the additional government investment.
“The program is a tailored approach that can help improve job outcomes for young people with mental illness,” Ms Henderson said.
“This is fantastic news for the local communities because we know career assistance hand-in-hand with clinical support can make a profound difference in the lives of young people and ensure they can reach their full potential.”
The expansion of the Individual Placement and Support Program will allow more than 6,000 young people under the age of 25 experiencing mental illness across Australia to receive specialist vocational and employment support in tandem with clinical treatment to find and keep a job over the next four years.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said having a job was a game-changer, which is why the government was focused on helping people to get into work.
“This program has never been more important given we have seen young people disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in terms of jobs losses which we know can compound the mental health impact so many are feeling as a result of the pandemic,” Ms Ruston said.
Professor Patrick McGorry, executive director of Orygen (which runs the program with headspace), welcomed the federal government’s commitment to making a lasting difference in the lives of people who face barriers to work.
“The onset of mental illness often occurs in young people which, by the age of 25, can significantly affect their ability to transition from study to work,” Prof. McGorry said.