MORE headspace centres could open in North East Victoria depending on the success of the Albury-Wodonga service due to open in October.
Gateway Community Health chief executive Leonard Peady said yesterday if demand for the mental health service from youth outside Albury-Wodonga was high enough, it could present a compelling case to lobby for another centre in a city such as Wangaratta.
This week marks a year since the Border won its bid for a headspace centre.
Gateway, as the lead agency, is well on the way to preparing for its opening in High Street, Wodonga.
Today the Gateway marks another milestone — it has merged with Ovens and King Community Health in Wangaratta.
The two services will come under the Gateway Health name and it means North East residents have access to more allied health services.
Headspace won’t necessarily be one of them, as Mr Peady said the federal government funding provided only covered the service to operate out of Gateway in Wodonga.
However, young people aged 12-25 who were able to get to the Border would be able to also use the service, he said.
Services would also be available online and outreach staff may be able to help put young people in touch with help.
“Once we have experience in running the service, we’ll be able to see if there is a need for one in Wangaratta,” Mr Peady said.
“If there is, I would think we would be well placed to lobby for it.”
Gateway is leading a consortium of agencies whose services will be available through headspace, and is asking young people what they want from the service.
The merger means where possible other services may be shared more readily — for example, physiotherapy and podiatry services from Wangaratta will be expanded to Wodonga.
Clients at Ovens and King should notice no difference in their services except for signage, Mr Peady said.
“It made sense to become one robust service,” he said.
“Size does matter sometimes, and as a bigger service we can better lobby for funds.”