Kids Mental Health Support Expanded In The Hunter

Mental Health support for kids is being expanded across the region with the Hunter, New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network commissioning a new children’s mental health service.

Up to 12 face-to-face sessions of psychological counselling will be available to children up to 12 years of age through two providers Beam Health and Uniting NSW/ACT.

The service is aimed at the Hunter’s youngest and most vulnerable community members who experience difficulty accessing services, including children who are under financial hardship, who may have a history of self-harm, or have parents with severe mental illness. It is also targeted at Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, those from Cultural and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, and children living in rural and remote areas.

A referral by a GP is all that is needed to access the free sessions.

It will complement the Primary Health Network’s existing range of mental health support including Headspace and Head to Health.

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Manager, Leah Morgan said the Primary Health Network was working to improve access to services by removing barriers.

“There are many vulnerable groups within our community who are not receiving mental health support due to barriers including cost and availability. These services will be bulk billed to overcome financial barriers,” Ms Morgan said.

“In addition to this new service, GPs are still able to access the GP psychiatry support line for advice on the management of their patients.”

It will be trialed until June 30th, 2023 and there will be no out of pocket expenses for patients.

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