Katoomba headspace satellite service, and the Penrith headspace centre, have been given welcome budgetary news this week - the federal government has announced the Katoomba service will receive an additional $1.1 million and headspace Penrith an additional $1.2 million.
The additional funding will increase the number of young people in the region who can access the early intervention mental health service and also means an additional four staff members will be employed at Katoomba, including a senior clinician.
Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, is the local funder of both services and has worked closely with the operator Parramatta Mission to apply for the additional funding.
Wentworth Healthcare CEO, Lizz Reay, said: "During these unprecedented times, these services are vital for our young people and their families".
"The unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the natural disasters our region has faced, means that the need in our region has increased and we are pleased that this has been recognised with this additional funding ," Ms Reay said.
The long-awaited early intervention mental health support service for young people opened in Katoomba in August last year. The satellite centre provides support for mental health, work and study, as well as alcohol and other drugs.
The federal government is spending an additional $26 million across the headspace network nationally, what the government says is the single largest Commonwealth investment in mental health and suicide prevention in Australia's history.
Liberal Senator Marise Payne, who officially opened headspace Katoomba, said the extra investment would help reduce wait times.
"headspace Katoomba has been experiencing periods of high demand and this funding will help them expand their services and improve access to high quality, youth friendly mental health support," Senator Payne said.
Since opening the service has been embraced by the community.
"Mountains Youth Services Team and the Rotary Clubs of Blackheath and Katoomba have been among the many organisations that have formed strong and important links with the headspace team. This has helped create a wrap-around, holistic service," Senator Payne said.
Health minister Greg Hunt, said one in four young Australians are affected by a mental illness every year.
Over the next four years from 2021-22, the government is investing $873.2 million in the national headspace network, this includes $758.2 million for the establishment of new services ongoing service delivery and enhancement of existing services.
Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has welcomed the additional Katoomba funding but said now it was Hawkesbury's turn.
"I welcome any additional funding for Katoomba Headspace, a service which has been open less than a year and is clearly insufficient as a satellite service ...[But] young lives are being put at risk while the federal government waits to establish a Headspace service in the Hawkesbury."
headspace Katoomba is at 37 Waratah Street and open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.