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Subsidised Mental Health Service for Children with Depression and Anxiety

Today saw the launch of a new program that shines a light on the need for mental health services for children 12 years and under experiencing symptoms of mild to severe anxiety and depression with barriers to accessing Medicare services.

These children and their families can now access primary mental health support with no out of pocket costs through the “Next Step” mental health program. Capital Health Network (CHN), through the ACT PHN programme, engaged CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn to provide this much needed service that will be delivered by specially trained clinicians who offer up to 16 sessions, to children across the ACT requiring support.

Chief Executive of CHN, Gaylene Coulton has welcomed the commencement of the program, stating that early intervention is key, “Data suggests that the prevalence of mental health disorders in Australian in young people and their use of services for these problems has significantly increased between 1998 and 2013-14.  As such, providing early identification and intervention to children before adolescence aims to prevent long term mental health issues and to support healthy growth and development.” said Ms. Coulton.

Anne Kirwan, CEO of CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn said “We are seeing increased demand for early intervention mental health services from children and families in the ACT who want to access mental health and counselling services, but are not in a financial position to do so.  This new program will aim to address that need and enable children who are experiencing symptoms of mild to severe anxiety and depression gain access to specially trained clinicians” Ms. Kirwan said.

Next Step Child Under 12 programs are part of the broader suite of Mental Health programs offered through Next Step that are already available for young people and adults requiring support for anxiety and depression. For more information please visit

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