AFTER months of campaigning, Griffith's push for much-needed youth mental health support took a massive leap forward yesterday.
Nineteen-year-old Jenna Thornton, who has struggled with mental illness as a result of bullying and bravely shared her story with The Area News this week, handed the Headspace for Griffith petitions containing 2355 signatures over to Riverina MP Michael McCormack.
Mr McCormack will now pass them on to the petitions committee, asking for it to be the first order of business on the first week back in parliament.
Mayor John Dal Broi said that with young people accounting for more than 10 per cent of the Griffith community, Headspace would be a welcome addition.
"A significant rate of young people experience a mental health issue so it is important we have early intervention services available for them," he said.
"The Headspace 'one stop' model has proven to be effective worldwide as it builds on existing services strengthening local partnerships.
"There are significant difficulties for young people in our area accessing appropriate mental health support services. Since Headspace in Wagga opened more than 300 young people from Griffith have made the journey over to access their services."
Mr McCormack said having face-to-face contact could make the difference between life and death.
"Two thousand signatures is a great start and, while I can't predict how the government might react, I will do my level best to do whatever I can to make this happen," he said.
"This is a sterling effort, a courageous effort, not only to collect the signatures, but to have people sharing their personal stories."
Seventy of the 90 Headspace sites available have been either established or announced, leaving 20 still to be allocated.
Headspace for Griffith committee president Peta Dummett said Griffith is among the 25 locations that will be considered based on the criteria of population and/or proximity to an existing headspace site.
"On size, Griffith and surrounding towns rank 15th largest of the 25," she said.
"Looking at distance to an existing Headspace site we rank 10th in lack of proximity to a headspace site and based on this Griffith should be very much in the mix."