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The services provided to young people through the headspace centres across Australia

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headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, was initiated by the Australian Government in 2006 because it was recognised that the prevalence of mental disorders and the burden of disease associated with mental health problems was greater for those in their adolescent and early adult years than in older adults, but that young people were less likely to access professional help.1 headspace centres aim to be highly accessible, youth-friendly integrated service hubs that respond to the mental health, general health, alcohol and other drug, and vocational concerns of young people aged 12 to 25 years.2 The main goal is to improve mental health outcomes by reducing help-seeking barriers and facilitating early access to services that meet the holistic needs of young people. Recent data indicate that the initiative is largely achieving its aim to improve access to services early in the development of mental illness.3

As the headspace network has grown, the key components of the model have become clearer.4 At the heart of all headspace services is a youth-friendly, non-stigmatising, inclusive “no wrong door” approach, essential for engaging young people in mental health care.5 This is both a challenge and a major point of difference from…

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