Young Canberrans empowered to access mental health support


Early use of the youth mental health navigation portal MindMap shows young Canberrans are using the portal to get support for anxiety and depression.

The MindMap Youth Navigation Portal, which was released on 19 October 2021, helps young people access 100 services within the Canberra region and almost 300 resources to support their mental health and wellbeing.

Interim reporting over its first six months found:

  • More than 9,100 people accessed MindMap
  • Over 25,000 pages viewed
  • More than 150 calls made to MindMap youth navigators
  • 50% of users were between 6-17, 24% between 18-24, and 26% identified as parents or carers
  • 51% of users were seeking face-to-face support and 28% were interested in a combination of delivery options

While anxiety and depression were the top issues young people were seeking assistance for, they also sought support on other issues including relationships, abuse and family violence, feelings and emotions, self-harm and suicide prevention, social and emotional wellbeing, and eating disorders and body image.

Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said that the platform was co-designed with young people for young people to ensure the portal was a safe space to navigate the mental health system and easily engage with services to support needs and individual experiences.

“MindMap builds knowledge and skills for young people, their families, carers and peers to better manage their mental health and wellbeing. It empowers them to take ownership of their journey, identify which support is best for them and access those services,” Minister Davidson said.

“Importantly the platform is staffed by Youth Navigators through Marymead, from noon to 11pm, 7 days per week, to ensure young people can contact someone to help them find the best service for their needs.

“These findings from the first six months, and the formal evaluation in the coming months, will not only help improve the platform to empower more young people to seek support for their mental health needs, but also provide evidence on where the demand is and assist in directing government investment towards the evidenced need.”

For young people who have chosen to engage with a service that has a waiting list, they can use MindMap’s Active Hold Service, which provides face-to-face or phone counselling sessions at the young person’s request. Through this, a Clinical Youth Navigator will support the young person and their family before they commence with the service and respond to their needs should they change.

The formal evaluation is currently in progress and is overseen by the MindMap Governance Committee, which includes representation from the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Marymead, Catholic Care, Youth Coalition of the ACT and the Australian National University. The evaluation will also involve University of Canberra and Mental Illness Education ACT.