Cuts to mental health services will put local teens at risk

KAYLENE Paradine is worried government funding cuts will put Rockhampton teenagers at risk.

From tomorrow, funding to Carinity Wahroonga will end and its mental health services will be scaled back.

Ms Paradine, the Carinity Wahroonga manager, said over 11 years the service had helped more than 1100 young people with issues including abuse, depression and anxiety.

She said demand for the service was always high with 50 to 60 people in programs at any time and up to 12 on a waiting list.

In total, Ms Paradine said the service received $360,000 a year in State Government funding.

Young people with mental health issues will now be referred to Headspace Rockhampton.

While Ms Paradine praised their work in the community, she said they were struggling to cope with the influx since Carinity Wahroonga closed its books.

"We are worried teens will fall through the cracks," she said.

"The incident of self-harm and youth suicide will increase."

She said the cuts also resulted in the loss of three psychologists.

"This work is so important that rather than closing, we've scaled down the service to three days a week. Clients will need to consult their doctor for a Mental Health Plan and will be entitled to a maximum of 10 sessions per year," Ms Paradine said.

"But a lot of young people are just starting to feel at ease after 10 to 12 sessions, so that's not a good model."

Ms Paradine said $60,000 was needed to operate for five days a week.

Member for Keppel Bruce Young said Carinity Wahroonga was "a very valuable" program which had done a "magnificent job". But since Headspace opened, funded by the Federal Government's Medicare Local, its services were being duplicated.



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