Funding has been received from Newcastle Permanent for the required IT equipment, room renovations and furniture in consultation with young people’s ideas for the new offices.
Funding has also been obtained from the NSW Government Department of Health to conduct promotion and awareness workshops across schools in Port Stephens.
A key partner in the COPSY journey is included KYDS, a highly successful not for profit organisation in North Sydney at the forefront of mental health and well-being. Since 2005, they have provided thousands of free counselling services and training programs for young people. Although there are no formal links between the organisations, KYDS is giving COPSY to all of its intellectual property (e.g. training materials) and advice of office management and on clinical specialists required etc.
Community consultation and participation has been important to developing the vision for COPSY and its aim to provide an accessible, available and affordable youth mental health service:
Accessible because the location of the service in the Salamander Bay library complex, thanks to the generosity of the PSC. This site is between the two local high schools; making it more convenient to access than the headspace centres at either Maitland or Newcastle. Also, we understand that going to such a site will be more attractive than going to a doctors’ practice or existing local ounselling services.
Available because existing services are stretched with long waiting lists. COPSY will be funding extra psychologist/counsellors. As the prospective users in the local schools are not allowed off campus until after 3pm, the allied health professionals will be available at the site each afternoon from 3-pm.
Affordable because the services will be free. To be affordable for COPSY long-term, we hope that the chosen professionals will be able to access Medicare rebates. However, COPSY will cover the gap payment. Moreover, if a booked appointment is not kept, COPSY will still pay for the session.
We have now developed a five-year plan based on the future of the services for the region. The community has been generous but we now require a ‘hands up’.
Donations will assist COPSY to pay staff and secure the long-term viability of the counselling service and education programme.