Simple Steps

The Rotary Club of Knox saw the need for greater mental health support for young people in their local community, so they did something about it.

“But doesn’t the Government pay for this stuff?”

Unfortunately, there isn’t a capture-all system for mental health, especially when it comes to youth and young people. Mental health support in the private sector is often out of reach to young people. For many, the wait is too long; they don’t or can’t ask their parents for money to pay for it, and things are getting worse.

Recognising this need, the Rotary Club of Knox, Vic, designed the Simple Steps Pilot Program to help fill the gaps in our current government mental health systems. It is a collaborative and complimentary service that adds extra support to areas of mental health need.

The Simple Steps program is designed to help reduce mental distress among young people by supporting those who slip through the cracks in our current system. It aims to reduce waiting list times for existing services and reduce pressure on mental health professionals by developing a model of low-cost mental health services.

The process is simple. Young people seeking support contact Headspace, which helps them select a suitable counsellor. Appointments are organised in the usual manner, with the counsellor billing Simple Steps.

The counsellors are well trained in the prevention and early intervention space. They are equipped to identify complex mental health challenges and can provide support until access to more intensive care becomes available, if necessary.

Working on a responsible funding model, the Rotary Club of Knox funded the pilot program, with generous supporters and grants from the Knox City Council and Bendigo Bank Ferntree Gully. All grants went directly to counselling fees, with the Rotary Club of Knox funding the administration costs.

“This is the first support to stay with me as I worked through my challenges,” commented one participant. “When I started, I could not get out of bed. Today, I have secured a full-time job, got my licence, moved out of home, and am now paying for my own sessions.”

“I have so many issues, but for the first time I can see them for what they are and am learning skills to work with what I am living with,” said another. “I’m not there yet, but I am thinking about how I can live instead of wanting to die.”

Life-changing impact like this is made possible by Rotarians, supporters and community organisations.

Every tax-deductible dollar invested goes directly to providing counselling sessions for local youth in need.

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