Farming communities facing pressure in the wake of severe drought conditions will 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 Barwon Kevin Humphries announced that more people in drought-affected areas of Western NSW will now have access to additional mental health supports thanks to an injection of funding by the State Government.
“Every day reports of grief and loss from within farming communities grow in the wake of severe and ongoing drought conditions,” Mr Humphries said.
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“It is often difficult to seek help when living in remote and rural areas, and this new funding will link people struggling with their mental health into services appropriate to their needs.”
The recent announcement of a further $500 million provides emergency funding to help struggling farmers and takes the NSW Government’s total drought support to more than $1 billion. As part of this drought relief package there will be more mental health assistance for drought-affected communities.
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.
Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said the funding over the next two years will ensure individuals; families and businesses have 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. This is about reducing stigma, providing hope and support, and most importantly recovery,” Mrs Davies said.
Mrs Davies added the funding will also provide vital education for existing frontline support staff and 10 local wellbeing events to be held in towns across the State.
The community events will be held in Dubbo, Yeoval, Narromine, Nyngan, Bourke, Coonamble, Walgett, Coonabarabran, Mudgee and Gilgrandra (details to be provided in the near future).
This funding commitment is on top of $4 million already being provided to regional NGO’s to support communities facing natural disaster and drought.
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The NSW Liberals and Nationals 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 contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, or visit www.crrmh.com.au for rural mental health information.