I rise here today to speak to this motion. Mental Health Week is an opportunity to remind people about the importance of their social and emotional wellbeing, and that of their families, loved ones and communities. Today I would like to mention key initiatives in my region, and highlight the government's mental health reforms which have been welcomed in this sector.
Tomorrow is the first national headspace day and the theme is 'Access all areas'. This day of awareness is about making sure every young person in Australia has access to youth-friendly mental health services, no matter where they live. Over the past decade headspace has transformed services for young people living with mental illness, including disproportionately high numbers of young people from regional and rural areas, those identifying as LGBTI, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.
At my local headspace in Cairns, there were 5,588 occasions of care during 2015-16. Headspace has been successful in bringing traditionally marginalised groups into support services, and making a measureable difference in reducing suicidal ideation and self-harm. As the only member of parliament who is also the independent chair of a headspace, I would like to thank Marie O'Dea and her team at headspace Cairns for their work to date and the great work I expect they will be doing into the future.
I would also like to acknowledge consortium members the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Cairns Regional Council, Wuchopperen Aboriginal Health Service, Youth Link, Vocational Partnerships Group, and Aftercare.
Another initiative that we have of which I am very proud is The Junction Clubhouse, very capably led by Dorothy Dunne and her team. It is a wonderful facility, which I work very closely with. It helps members who are recovering from mental health challenges to become work-ready, and it provides ongoing support through outreach and social recreation.
At The Junction's new premises-generously donated by Mrs Freda Mangano, who provided all of the funds for the purchase of the property-they are now operating a bike bank, with bikes for sale and hire, and promoting healthy lifestyles. During the election campaign I was pleased to secure $60,000 for The Junction to upgrade their kitchen to a commercial facility. Members are able to make and sell lunches and coffees to surrounding businesses, becoming more financially self-sustainable in the long term.
Another fabulous institution in my electorate is the Dr Edward Koch Foundation. I have spoken before about the critical work carried out by Dulcie Bird, CEO of the Dr Edward Koch Foundation. This is the lead agency for suicide prevention activities in my region, and they do it all without a dollar of state or federal funding. It is quite amazing.
Later this month, in partnership with the World Federation for Mental Health, they are hosting the 2016 international conference, with 150 speakers on a broad range of mental health related issues. At the conference, the president will launch the theme for the coming year, 'Dignity in mental health: psychological and mental health first aid for all'.
The launch is in conjunction with Betty Kitchener, who developed the Mental Health First Aid program here in Australia. In 2015, the one millionth Mental Health First Aider in the world was trained-an absolutely remarkable achievement.
Mental health reform is a top priority for the Turnbull government, and we are tackling it on a range of fronts, particularly in rural and regional areas, through a new 'stepped care' model, which tailors services to people's needs; a digital information gateway; new 'low intensity' support for individuals; innovative approaches to care for people with severe mental illness needs; and local planning and funding of services through the Primary Health Networks.
Feedback on the government's reforms has been very positive. Headspace has welcomed the funding for an additional 10 centres, with a focus on additional services in rural and regional areas.
Dorothy Dunne from The Junction Clubhouse says she has noticed more acceptance of community-based organisations attending the mental health unit to provide support around discharge planning, as well as more moves away from clinical services, greater knowledge of Recovery Based Practice and more focus on Peer workers.
I welcome the new suicide Prevention Research Fund and Best Practice Hub, and the extra $24 million over 3 years to fund a further Eight Suicide Prevention regional trial sites, bringing the total to 12.
Two of the sites, in Townsville and the Kimberly, have been announced. I’d urge the Government to consider Cairns as one of the remaining six sites and I know the Dr Edward Koch Foundation could play a key role in this.
In closing, can I say that our mental health reforms will result in better personalised support and care, and greater opportunities and better lives for Far North Queenslanders. I certainly commend this motion to the House.