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    Medibank helps Kookaburra Kids as they expand into Victoria

    Chris Giles, Rose Cox - Kookaburra Kids Ambassador, Karen Oldaker

    Medibank Senior Executive Wellbeing & Community Karen Oldaker has hosted Kookaburra Kids and experts in adolescent mental health, as the Sydney-based foundation officially launched its program in Victoria.

    Medibank is a proud supporter of the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, which assists children living in families affected by mental illness.

    Founded in 2002, Kookaburra Kids provides weekend camps and school holiday activities, giving children and teenagers a break, in a fun, positive and safe environment. The programs are evidence based, delivering age appropriate, prevention and early intervention mental health services. The aim is to empower those attending to build resilience, let them know they’re not alone, foster new friendships and connect them with resources for when they return home.

    There are currently over 2,500 children aged eight to 18 registered in the Kookaburra Kids program with services currently delivered in NSW, ACT, Queensland and NT.

    Kookaburra Kids’ first Victorian camp for around 40 children will be held this weekend and Kookaburra Kids will expand to South Australia later this year.

    Kookaburra Kids also works closely with the charity Legacy and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, supporting children of current and former defence force personnel. This component of the Kookaburra Kids program is funded by the Australian Government.

    Kookaburra Kids CEO Chris Giles said: “We are very excited to be expanding into Victoria and delivering the Kookaburra Kids program to more children. Our service is provided at no cost to families, so the ongoing support from partners such as Medibank, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs along with individual donors is vital to ensuring we can continue to support children experiencing family mental illness.”

    Medibank’s Karen Oldaker said: “We’re proud to support the work of Kookaburra Kids and assist with their expansion. One in five Australians experience a mental health condition each year, and almost one in two will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. Many of these people have children who are taking on the role of carer, needing life skills well beyond their years.”

    Mr Giles added: “Children living with parents or other family members affected by mental illness are at risk of multiple adverse outcomes compared to their peers. Studies show children who have a parent with a mental illness are 50% more likely develop a mental health issue without some form of early intervention. This is where Kookaburra Kids can be vital.”

    Ms Oldaker said Medibank is committed to supporting better mental health for all Australians – through financially assisting groups such as Kookaburra Kids and via private health insurance policy changes enabling eligible customers to access mental health services sooner.

    “Medibank spent a total of $193 million on hospital mental health services for our customers last financial year. As part of its commitment to supporting customers facing mental health issues, Medibank has launched a new service providing information, advice and support from experienced mental health professionals,” she said.

    Medibank’s Mental Health Phone Support ([1800 644 325]) can now assist Medibank customers with information on the best place to seek help, how to support a loved one, or information about the signs and symptoms of mental health issues.

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