Headspace Areas vs. Non-Headspace Areas: Changes in Awareness and Medicare-Defined Service Uptake Over Time

Poster C90, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Sharnel Perera1,2, Sarah Hetrick2,3, Susan Cotton1,2, Alexandra Parker2,4, Debra Rickwood5,6, Patrick McGorry1,2; 1Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 2Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 3University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 4Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 5University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 6headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

There is a well-known mismatch between the number of young people who experience mental illness, and the number who ultimately seek help. This paper examines the awareness and help-seeking behaviours of youth in the Australian context, with the roll out of headspace services nationwide. A Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) was used to assess the level of awareness of headspace services amongst the general Australian community, and whether this awareness has changed between 2008 and 2015. A second analysis looking at mental health-specific items from the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) assessed whether service uptake in areas with an established headspace centre (‘headspace area’) differs from areas without (‘non-headspace area’). CATI results showed that awareness of headspace has significantly increased in the general community between 2008 and 2015, more so in areas within a 20km radius of a headspace centre. The MBS analyses revealed mental health service uptake by young people (15-25 years) to be significantly higher in headspace areas, compared to non-headspace areas; this was for both the number of patients and the occasions of service. Mental health service users were significantly more likely to be female, and aged 18-21 years. These results were independent of socio-economic disadvantage and population differences between headspace areas and non-headspace areas. Evidence shows that headspace awareness campaigns have been successful in increasing the awareness among the general community regarding the availability of appropriate mental health services for young people. Thus, these youth-friendly and accessible centres might be effective in reducing help-seeking barriers amongst young people.

Topic Area: Service System Development and Reform

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