VITAL WORK: headspace CEO Jason Trethowan (centre) and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd at headspace Gladstone.
VITAL WORK: headspace CEO Jason Trethowan (centre) and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd at headspace Gladstone. contributed

Headspace CEO says unemployment for youth is an issue

UNEMPLOYMENT is impacting young people's mental health in our region but youth are being helped.

That's according to headspace chief executive officer Jason Trethowan, who was in Gladstone yesterday.

Mr Trethowan said the service worked with many youth who were unemployed and were having mental health problems.

While the CEO was in Gladstone he met with Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

"We spoke to him about some of the challenges around youth unemployment and how Gladstone as a headspace centre has done extremely well with engaging young people that are not involved in school or work," Mr Trethowan said.

"Around 50 per cent of young people between 17-25 who present to headspace Gladstone are not actually in any form of work or study."

Mr Trethowan said they discussed with Mr O'Dowd a digital program for youth that gave them tools to prepare for work.

He said it was hugely important to help young people with this issue.

"What's very clear is ... mental health and not getting on top of mental health challenges is actually getting in the way of young people staying connected to school and to seek work," Mr Trethowan said.

Mr Trethowan said headspace spoke to young people about how if they wanted their dream job they had to start somewhere.

Mr Trethowan said since headspace started in Gladstone about 18 months ago, more people were getting support.

The other purpose of Mr Trethowan's visit was to talk with young people about how the support service was tracking since it started in Gladstone.

"I was really encouraged by what young people are saying, after hearing the countless number of stories of people being able to come to a very safe space," he said.

Another positive Mr Trethowan highlighted was the work the organisation was doing with secondary schools in the region.

"It's about providing greater awareness of mental health issues so that young people of Gladstone today feel more comfortable talking about mental health challenges than perhaps their mums and dads did," he said.

"That real generational shift was really obvious to me (in Gladstone) which is terrific for people here."

Need help?

  • Phone headspace Gladstone on 4903 1921
  • Phone Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or visit www.kidshelpline.com.au
  • Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14