The Federal Coalition Government is investing in innovative strategies to address the barriers preventing people with mental illness in the Tamworth region from finding and keeping a job.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the Government has committed an additional $45.7 million to extend two programs dedicated to helping young people with mental illness join the workforce.
The funding will be used to double the number of headspace sites running the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support Program and to support headspace National to continue the Digital Work and Study Service.
An Individual Placement and Support Program will now be run at Tamworth headspace thanks to the additional government investment.
“The program is a tailored approach that can help improve job outcomes for young people with mental illness,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is fantastic news for the local community because we know career assistance, hand-in-hand with clinical support, can make a profound difference in the lives of young people and ensure they can reach their full potential.”
Regional NSW headspace sites at Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Grafton will also support the program.
The expansion of the Individual Placement and Support Program will allow more than 6000 youth under the age of 25 experiencing mental illness across Australia to receive specialist vocational and employment support in tandem with clinical treatment to find and keep a job over the next four years.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the program was especially important given the effect of COVID-19 on youth employment.
“A job is a game-changer and that is why the government is so focussed on helping people to get into work,” Minister Ruston said.
“This program has never been more important given we have seen young people disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in terms of jobs losses which we know can compound the mental health impact so many are feeling as a result of the pandemic.”
Professor Patrick McGorry, executive director of Orygen which runs the program with headspace, welcomed the Government’s commitment to making a real lasting difference in the lives of people who face barriers to work.
“The onset of mental illness often occurs in young people which, by the age of 25, can significantly affect their ability to transition from study to work,” Professor McGorry said.