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New free mental health service for the Upper Hunter

Muswellbrook Head to Health opens

Muswellbrook Head to Health, a new mental health service for anyone dealing with emotional distress, life challenges or mental health issues, has arrived in the Hunter Valley.

Upper Hunter residents can access this free service in Muswellbrook, Singleton, and Scone. No referral is needed. People seeking support can walk through the door of the Head to Health clinic in Muswellbrook or call the national Head to Health helpline 1800 595 212 to book an appointment.

Muswellbrook Head to Health is funded by the Australian Government, commissioned by Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network, and this service is delivered by the regional not-for-profit organisation, Social Futures.

“It’s been a tough few years, with cost-of-living pressures, the pandemic and a lot of change and uncertainty,” Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said. “It’s understandable that many people are feeling stressed and often pushed to the limit.

“You should not hesitate to reach out for support – it’s an act of bravery that should be applauded.

“Head to Health centres deliver quality mental health care for the Upper Hunter community. Head to Health can help if you are facing challenges as diverse as family relationship breakdowns, financial pressures, substance use or work challenges.

“There is a skilled team here to support you and connect you to more specialised care if needed.

“Muswellbrook Head to Health is a safe and welcoming space to talk to someone if you, or someone you care about, is in distress, or needs guidance finding supports.”

PHN CEO Richard Nankervis said the aim of Head to Health was to simplify access to mental health care.

“Head to Health is designed to enhance local service integration and offer a seamless care pathway for people to receive the right level of care at the right time to meet their mental health needs,” he said.

“It is based on an episodic model of care, delivering evidence-based care and family support to cover the short-to-medium term, based on clinical judgement and individual need.

“So, whether you are looking for mental health support for yourself, or someone you care about, or just trying to improve your wellbeing, Head to Health is a great place to start.”

Federal Member for Hunter, Dan Repacholi MP, welcomed the introduction of the new service.

“Our community has been calling for more mental health services, particularly for our young people, and I’m so pleased we are now delivering these vital mental health services,” he said.

“Access to mental health services and support has never been more important for people in the Hunter.

“The new Head to Health service is a welcome addition and will offer ongoing support for people across our community who are struggling with their mental health.”

Care will be provided by a multidisciplinary mental health team including Psychologists, Counsellors, Credentialed Mental Health Nurses, Mental Health Support Workers, Aboriginal Health Practitioners and Peer Workers. The service will be delivered face-to-face, via phone, or online.”

The 2021 Australian Productivity Commission report into Mental Health found that the mental health system was complex, and many people were unable to find the right services. COVID-19 also had a big impact on community mental health and wellbeing. The creation of the Head to Health model was subsequently created.

Head to Health services started in Victoria, delivering mental health support during the pandemic, and proved so accessible and helpful, the hubs are being rolled out across Australia. (There are 14 clinics open or soon to open in New South Wales.)

• Social Futures is a community service organisation with 48 years' experience working to create positive social change in regional Australia. We work directly with individuals, families, communities, organisations and governments across our focus areas of homelessness and housing, youth and family, wellbeing, community inclusivity and programs that promote genuine participation for people with disability, to support communities to thrive and people to live well.

Media Enquiries

Social Futures: Kim Gannon 0439 517 537
PHN: Rebecca Brennan 0437 478 138

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