Mental health support services are prepared for another spike in demand as public health restrictions are eased in the ACT, as a new website has been launched to help young Canberrans navigate support services.
ACT Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson unveiled a new territory government backed website called MindMap, which would help link support services to young people in the ACT.
The program was developed following feedback from young people who said there was a need for such a service.
"It's our youth navigation portal for mental health. It's full of resources for young people and information about services they can access to help them find the right service for their needs at the right time," Ms Davidson said.
Its timing comes as agencies expect a surge in demand for services with the easing of restrictions.
The MindMap website was designed in partnership with Marymead. The organisation's deputy group chief executive Tracey Hall said it was the perfect time for the program to be launched as demand for services could increase.
Ms Hall said based on the experience of lockdown last year, there was actually a spike in inquiries as lockdown was eased.
"This is our second time coming out of lockdown and one of the things that we noticed from the last experience was that as the ACT went into lockdown, from Marymead's experience, the inquiries for support actually decreased at the start," she said.
"It was the coming out of lockdown when we really noticed that increase in demand and volume for support."
Experiences of lockdown and the supports needed were varied among individuals, Ms Hall said.
"Isolation is a challenge for many families and young people, particularly if there was existing challenges in the family home prior to lockdown," she said.
"That can be wide ranging mental health, drug and alcohol problems, family violence or none of the above and simply, you know, a mental health problem that a young person is facing.
"It's a wide range of challenges that young people have been facing right now and during the last lockdown and will in the future."
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Ms Davidson said while the portal had been launched now and it would help with mental health issues related to the lockdown, support for Canberra's youth extended beyond the pandemic.
"We know that young Canberrans have had a harder time during lockdown," Ms Davidson said.
"We know that there are a lot of young Canberrans who've experienced a loss of income and have had to access food relief support and we know there's a lot of young people in Canberra who have really felt a lot of stress during this period of time.
"But this project is not just about what people are experiencing right now in lockdown it's also acknowledging that actually young people have been experiencing issues with mental health and wellbeing for some time.
"We wanted to make it easier for people to find the right service for what their needs are.
"Different kinds of mental health conditions will need different kinds of services and we've got a really wide range of diverse services in the ACT.
"That can actually be quite difficult to navigate if you're new to having to look for mental health and wellbeing services.
"So that's why MindMap exists to help people find the right service."
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