Local farming communities facing pressure with severe drought conditions would have access to 20 new ‘farm gate’ counsellors and frontline mental health workers as part of a $6.3 million commitment from the NSW Government.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said it means more people in drought-affected areas would now have access to additional mental health support.
“Every day reports of grief and loss from within farming communities grow in the wake of severe and ongoing drought conditions,” Mr Marshall said.
“It is often difficult to seek help when living in remote and rural area and this new funding will link people struggling with their mental health into services appropriate to their needs.
“The new funding will provide for additional Rural Adversity Mental Health Program coordinators who will link people struggling with their mental health into support services appropriate to their needs.”
The new mental health positions, which build on the existing Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, will be based in the Western, Hunter New England, Murrumbidgee, Nepean Blue Mountains, South Western Sydney and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Districts.
Mr Marshall said the funding, over the next two years, would ensure individuals, families and businesses had access to 44,000 hours of crucial mental health support close to home.
“People with lived experience of life on the land will lend a hand at events to start those conversations that might not otherwise be had,” he said.
“This is about reducing stigma, providing hope and support, and most importantly recovery.”
This funding commitment is on top of $4 million already being provided to regional NGO’s to support communities facing natural disaster and drought. The State Government’s total commitment to drought is more than $1 billion.
For crisis support please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For more information on mental health services in your community, please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, or visit the website at: www.crrmh.com.au for rural mental health information.