Kirsten is a registered Psychologist and qualified secondary school teacher with over 17 years of experience across the mental health and education sectors. Kirsten’s clinical experience has focused on work with children and young people who have experienced trauma, those with mood disorders and developmental disorders. Kirsten is the Centre Manager at headspace Townsville and has been with this service since it was established in 2008. Over the years Kirsten’s role has changed and has involved; community development, the development of a strong social inclusion program, delivery of education and training programs fundraising and cross-sector collaboration to reduce the stigma of mental illness and increase awareness and help seeking in the Townsville community. Headspace Townsville has been at the forefront of leading and developing a number of unique and engaging programs such as Shedspace, introduction of an Animal Assisted Therapy Program, Trauma Informed Tern Program, and services specific to LGBTIQ to name a few.
Shedspace—a place to improve youth mental health and wellbeing
Saturday 1 September | View program for more details
The Townsville community and particularly our youth continue to face significant challenges from high unemployment (22.2% compared to 13.3% nationally), youth crime, and drug and alcohol abuse. Of significant concern is the high rate of suicide in the region, which continues to remain more prevalent in our young men. Providing ready access to activities which are of interest and engaging for young people (especially young men) are a crucial avenue to facilitating access to services to support their wellbeing. In efforts to seek solutions to the difficulties our young people experience, the Shedspace pilot program was born. The Shedspace project has been a community driven and funded project activating a huge cross-sector of support to create a space to improve youth mental health and wellbeing. It has received support from local politicians, city council, and major corporate sponsors.
The Shedspace project is a first of its kind in the region and aims to provide a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for young people to engage with the community, learn new skills, socialise, have fun, improve their sense of self and find meaning and purpose in life. Shedspace will provide a space and learning environment for the youth of Townsville to connect to community, acquire new skills, improve their social and emotional well-being, and engage in meaningful activities. It will also act as a soft entry to headspace services.
While the project will primarily benefit the youth of Townsville, it is expected that there will be wider implications for family, friends and the whole of the Townsville community. We expect Shedspace to become an integral part of the headspace program as an additional resource to improve the lives of Townsville youth. The project will be an expansion on and will strengthen existing community partnerships. In the long-term, Shedspace has the potential to grow into a National initiative; the concept was recently presented at the headspace National Forum with over 850 delegates and elicited significant interest amongst attendees.
Shedspace project will offer a workspace for young people to access practical woodworking skills and equipment, building small motors, carpentry, restoration, pottering and related manual art activities. These are intended to be run by headspace Youth Workers and Social Workers with technical mentoring from passionate community members. It is anticipated that the provision of a place for young people to learn skills or use their already existing skills in a safe place will give them meaning and purpose.