Spotlight on Headspace
Can I just say, I love headspace oh so much! So... If you don't know what headspace is, it is an early intervention youth mental health service in Australia. You can go to headspace with pretty much anything that is bothering you, be that your mental, physical and sexual health and they can help you out and point you in the right direction.
I first visited a headspace centre sometime around August last year. I'm not going to lie. I was pretty terrified. It was something I honestly should have done a couple of years ago but I was scared and a little in denial. It took me quite a few tries to call them, I kept hanging up (sorry!!) but eventually sent my local centre an email asking if they would mind calling me - that way I couldn't back out! From there I briefly talked to someone on the phone about the sort of things I wanted to speak to someone about, I didn't have to go into too much detail - just enough so they could pair me with the right person.
A few weeks later, I had an appointment with a youth access clinician. At headspace, this seems to be the person who will in effect help coordinate the care you receive and also put you in contact to whoever you might need to see at headspace, whether that be a psychologist, GP, psychiatrist, sexual health nurse, social worker or a drug and alcohol counsellor.
I arrived far too early (I like to say that I'm chronically early rather than the usual chronically late!) and walked around the shops for a while. I was so nervous, I walked past the door over 10 times but then eventually made it inside.
That moment of bravery was so worth it and I can say I can now walk straight in without hesitation or shame because I now genuinely know that it is ok to see someone to talk about your mental health. It actually shows a lot of strength of character and courage. If there is something bothering you, then it is enough to talk to someone about it. Talking shows that you are committed to helping yourself feel better and to looking after all aspects of your health.
I don't exactly remember what I said in that session, the lady I spoke to was incredibly lovely and approachable and caring and also seemed like she would be a lot of fun! All the people I've come across at headspace have been so genuine and lovely. Personally, my intake session consisted of a lot of questions about the sort of things that were bothering me and it was pretty comprehensive. I also had the option to just say whatever I wanted from the get go but I generally find answering questions easier so opted for that.
I was then set up with a GP to get a Mental Health Care Plan. This plan entitles you to 10 individual sessions and 10 group sessions with a mental health professional a year, all you need is your medicare card.
After this was completed I started seeing a Psychologist there. I'd never really spoken to anyone about what was going on with me before so the whole concept felt very odd and a bit difficult. It still is hard around certain topics of course, but I'm getting the hang of it and I'm sure that you will too. I saw my psychologist a fair few times, she was incredibly lovely and thoughtful and definitely taught me some very good skills to help me manage my anxiety levels better and I started to talk about my OCD thinking with her as well as some issues around self injury which was something which I never thought I could say out loud or would.
After seeing my psychologist for a while, I was referred to another more specialised mental health team in the area for assessment by a psychiatrist and more intensive CBT. Headspace helped make the transition smooth and was so helpful. I was a bit worried about sort of being left with no support but that didn't happen at all - they were really wonderful and communicated to the new team I'm seeing a bit about me and what we'd been working on so they would have a bit of an idea before we started.
Headspace is a wonderful service for anyone in Australia aged 12-25. I love the work they do and all that they have done for me and some of my friends. It is so important to have a bridge between child and adult health services and headspace really helps facilitate this. They stress that no problem is too small and you can contact headspace about whatever is on your mind. Below I've included links to their website, the fantastic service - eheadspace which allows you to talk to someone online or on the phone as well as how to find a headspace centre in your local area.
eheadspace website & phone number: 1800 650 890
Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000. If you live outside Australia, link to worldwide crisis numbers can be found in the sidebar.