Launch of Head to Health Centres

20 December 2021
Head to Health icon
Neami National has begun service delivery for new Head to Health Centres in Penrith (NSW), Townsville (Qld), Geelong (Vic), Darwin (NT) and Head to Health Pop-ups in NSW.

Head to Health Centres provide a welcoming and safe space with immediate support for people experiencing distress or crisis, as well as ongoing support and assistance. Working closely with the local Primary Health Network’s (PHN), we are excited to be involved in this important initiative.

Head to Health Centres are funded as part of the Federal government’s $2.3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan announced in the 2021-22 Budget. The first eight funded Head to Health Centres are pilots, with one in each state/territory. Alongside service delivery they provide an opportunity to learn about the mental health needs of the local community and to deliver new ways of working. The learnings from these pilots will inform aspects of the mental health sector and the way Neami will work and deliver services.

Whilst each of the Neami Head to Health Centres responds to local community needs, there are some key principles that have guided their development, including:

  • Informed by Lived Experience
  • Co-design
  • Inclusive physical location
  • Meaningful partnerships

As the lead provider for these Head to Health Centres, Neami advocated for a service model that elevates lived experience, with a workforce that includes 50% dedicated lived experience roles and a commitment to extending the same percentage across governance and all aspects of the service.

Co-design with the communities in which they are located has played an important role in the development of the Head to Health Centres and this is a central component of creating services that are trusted. Our hope is that the co-designed Head to Health Centres can be a turning point for those seeking urgent responses to their distress and validate their help seeking. Over the next few years as local needs reveal themselves, we will be drawing upon co-design and local governance to continue to develop and modify the Head to Health Centres accordingly.

We are excited to be partnering in this journey with many other community organisations to build upon the experience and diverse knowledge that already exists. This is particularly true of the indigenous communities who we have been working alongside with new indigenous governance models and a strengthening of our commitment to reconciliation.

The Urgent Mental Health Care Centre (SA) is also funded as a Head to Health Centre, providing South Australia’s with crisis mental health support and an alternative to Emergency Department.

Official launches for our new Head to Health centres will be taking place through December and January, so stay connected with our Neami social media channels where we will share more information about each site.