Budget Backs In Headspace Early Career Workforce

Funding in the 2025 Federal Budget will put more allied health graduates and student clinicians into headspaces centres around Australia, bolstering supports for young people experiencing mental ill-health.

The $27.1 million commitment means headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation can continue its Early Career Program until early 2027 and expand its footprint across more of Australia.

Since 2021, the headspace Early Career Program has supported Psychology, Social Work and Occupational Therapy graduates, and students undertaking a degree in those disciplines, to work in headspace services – including in regional and rural locations. The program funds clinical educator positions in participating headspace centres to provide graduates with supervision and training throughout the two-year-long program.

In such a short period of time, the headspace Early Career Program has already recorded:

  • More than 100 graduates in headspace centres, almost half of whom have been placed in regional and rural locations, and
  • Almost 600 student clinicians completing university placements.

Together they have delivered more than 35,000 occasions of service.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan thanked the Federal Government for the investment in the Early Career Program, which contributes to the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy by boosting front line capacity and complementing longer term initiatives.

“The mental health sector is experiencing unprecedented demand, and a sustainable pipeline of trained staff is necessary to support more young people reaching out for help.

“The headspace Early Career Program is a proven model for building a new generation of mental health professionals, while also getting support to young people sooner.

“Graduates and students are placed in centres across regional and rural Australia where we know recruitment challenges make it harder to access mental health support.

“headspace is grateful to the government for their commitment to young people and the professionals who support them, and looks forward to exploring more ways we can work together to strengthen the mental health workforce – now and into the future.

“It is pleasing the budget recognises the opportunity to work alongside people with lived experience of mental ill-health, to co-design new models of care for young people with more complex needs.

“Given the high level of urgency, we encourage the government to commence this process immediately so that these new services can be established in 2025-26.”

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