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by Kat Rowe | January 6, 2023

Our headspace Social Inclusion Program eliminates the stigma that reaching out for mental health support can carry, and breaks down access barriers experienced by young people.

How our headspace Social Inclusion Program began

In 2017, headspace identified that young people were falling through the gaps and not engaging with the headspace services available to them. The team engaged local Aboriginal and Pacifica Elders who provided feedback and suggestions on a softer entry pathway for young people in need of support.

These Elders worked with us at headspace to ‘engage the un-engageable’ (sic), by creating a program that improves the accessibility of services.  Social Inclusion offers an alternative entry to headspace services for young people that might be experiencing challenges in addition to their mental health concerns,  as well as supporting young people while they’re on the waitlist for counselling or psychology services.

Who is our headspace Social Inclusion Program for?

We provide an inviting and safe support network for young people aged 12-25 years who are either resistant to engaging in the benefits of mental health services; those who feel overwhelmed by their current situation; or those who are unable to properly articulate the day-to-day stresses that impact their functioning.

No matter the reason, our Social Inclusion Coordinators tailor your support sessions to meet you at your level, ensuring you feel comfortable. It’s nothing like a typical therapy-type session you’re imagining.

Many of our sessions are carried out at the basketball hoop or across a pool table. Building rapport and trust is an important part of how we aim to help you feel calm and in control.

What is achieved in these sessions?

Throughout our sessions, we provide psychological education by the way of:

  • Self-care
  • Emotional regulation strategies
  • Support with engagement or re-engagement in school
  • Identifying goals and working through ways to achieve them

As well as one-on-one sessions, we also offer a range of group programs such as:

  • Diverse City
    A six-week program designed to support young people who are questioning their gender or sexuality, or identify as LGBTQIAP+.
  • Her Space / Mate Space
    A social group for young women and men to spend time with each other, talk about different aspects of their lives and have some fun at the same time.
  • Training Sesh
    Free weekly personal training for young people. All fitness levels are welcome.
  • ARCs (Adaptability, Reflection, Connection and Self)
    A 7-week resilience group program for young people experiencing mild mental health concerns as a means of early intervention. The ARCs program has been developed by Stride with young people, for young people.

Succeeding in the program can look different to everyone who enters. For some, it’s as simple as engaging in the program or identifying goals and taking steps towards achieving them. For others, success is measured by how well emotions are mastered or the recognition that unresolved trauma needs to be unpacked in order to move forward. 

Whatever success looks like to you, the three common factors come down to your actions, engagement and contributions.

Sam’s* story

Sam was referred to the headspace Social Inclusion Program as they were in desperate need of support, but unable to articulate any goals for the headspace service.

Through gentle rapport building, Sam and our Social Inclusion Coordinator were able to identify areas of concern and functional goals. Having someone listen to them to understand their situation, without passing judgement, helped Sam to find the best service for them.

Sam was then referred to the headspace Uplift team, where they received the necessary support to re-engage with life and feel more fulfilled and inspired in their daily activities.

* Please note, the name has been changed to protect identity.

Next steps

If you’re a young person in need of a supportive network, a listening ear or an escape from the hubbub of your daily life, reach out to our team today. It’s completely free for young people.

With the experience and expertise of our Social Inclusion Coordinators on your side, you can build a better today, tomorrow and future.

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