*Speech delivered in the Senate on 24th March 2023.
I said I'd use my position in this place to elevate the voices in our communities.
Today I want to share something with you from yourtown's Kids Helpline. They do really important work with young people and mental health.
Here are some words directly from their mouth:
"We tell young children to reach out and ask for mental health support. Kids Helpline is the critical safety net for every young person in Australia.
No matter where they live. No matter what time of the day or night. It's always there when they need it.
Over 443,000 young people between 5-25 contacted Kids Helpline last financial year.
It's unique in what it offers. It's 24/7 and it's free.
It's often the only mental health service available after hours, on the weekends, or for young people who live in rural and remote areas.
Last year, over half of the young people Kids Helpline supported, contacted the service after hours and on weekends.
One young person who used Kids Helpline said that they struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts throughout their teens.
There is no question the service saved their life many times.
Right now, Kids Helpline needs your support. The technology that underpins this vital service needs urgent upgrading.
Without it, we may not be able to support young people in the contemporary ways they want to engage, in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
We need $10.5 million in funding to make this happen.
This will future-proof the service, ensuring that Kids Helpline can keep supporting young people's mental health for many more years to come.
This is vital if we want to ensure every child that reaches out for help will have someone there to help them.
Minister, this is straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I really hope you consider funding this. It's a vital service for the health and wellbeing of our young people.