ONE of Tamworth's longest-standing mental health services has welcomed the federal government's latest funding support for the sector.
Billabong Clubhouse will be among the thousands of facilities across the country to benefit from the government's $1.1 billion support measures for mental health services and domestic violence support.
The funds are the latest in the federal government's support measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Billabong Clubhouse community engagement officer Joe Miller said any help the government could provide the mental health sector would be welcome.
"In my opinion, isolation is probably the biggest challenge facing most of our clients at the moment," Mr Miller told the Leader.
"Due to the pandemic restrictions, we have had to close our centre and offer our service to our clients remotely.
"Being able to come to our centre is a big thing for so many of our clients and any funding we can get that can help us deliver the service remotely is certainly welcome."
Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud said the funding would further support people in the outback and remote communities.
"No Australian, no matter where they live, needs to go through this alone," Mr Littleproud said.
"Those in regional and rural Australia have had it rough recently, with drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 crisis.
"We will continue to be there for them."
Mr Miller said he expected the demand for mental health services would only increase as the pandemic continues.
"We've just celebrated our 21st anniversary in Tamworth and some of our clients have been with us since day dot," he said.
"However, I think we will start to see more and more people reach out to us because of things like unemployment and isolation.
"We have seen the statistics rise for the suicide rate in young people, so it's more important to have mental resources in place than ever before.
"It's only going to worse and hopefully this funding can help us to see people through."
Mr Littleproud said eligible services were encouraged to apply for the funding.
"This support, which follows packages to cushion the economic and health impact from coronavirus, will be available immediately," he said.
"The package includes a whole of population telehealth, which is important for people to connect with their medical professionals and counsellors, and doubles the bulk billing incentive to make sure GPs are available.
"There will also be more services for people experience family, domestic or sexual violence, and extra funding for mental health services."
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636