Four Safe Spaces in Queensland bring emotional support to people in distress

by Sophie Berrill
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The last of four new ‘Safe Spaces’ in the north Brisbane and Moreton Bay region officially launched on 20 September. Each form part of the broader Brisbane North Safe Space Network, a new local system of grass-roots support for people in distress.

Brisbane North PHN commissioned the four spaces now operating at Redcliffe Area Youth Space, STRIDE in Caboolture, NEAMI in Strathpine and Communify in Bardon.

Co-designed with the community and coordinated by Wesley Mission Queensland (WMQ), the network is another level of non-clinical care, offering support in community spaces to help keep people well and out of hospital.

Local businesses and community centres such as libraries, cafes, hairdresser outlets and more can sign up to be part of this network. 

“Seeking help when in distress or suicidal can be difficult with a system that is complex and that people often find difficult to navigate,” says Wesley Mission Queensland Safe Space Coordinator Nat Scott.

“The Safe Space Network creates a compassionate village in response to that problem by putting people at the heart.”

What happens at the Safe Spaces?

People of all ages experiencing distress can turn up to a Safe Space and receive a safety plan. The plan incorporates peer support, sensory items, community connection, and pathways to clinical and community services if required. 

Described as “heart-based support”, the service aims to reduce social isolation through friendly chats and acts of kindness as simple as a cup of tea. 

“The Spaces were co-designed by people with an experience of distress or suicide and include features that help people feel heard, understood and safe,” says Brisbane North PHN CEO Libby Dunstan.

Ministers attend launch

In attendance at the launch of Redcliffe Safe Space were the Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel and Federal Member for Petrie the Hon Luke Howarth MP, and Brisbane North PHN Board Chair Dr Anita Green.

“The mental health and wellbeing of all Australians is a top priority for the Albanese Government,” says Assistant Minister McBride.

“That’s why the Commonwealth is proud to invest $10.5 million into the Brisbane North Safe Space Network so locals have access to the care they need when they need it, close to home.”

The Safe Space Network establishment and coordination, and the four Safe Spaces in the north Brisbane and Moreton Bay region, are being funded federally until mid-2024 through the Department of Health’s Community Health and Hospitals Program (CHHP).

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