Wednesday, August 4, 2021

$12m mental health boost for locked down NSW

The Federal Government has announced it will provide an additional $12.25 million to ensure the people of NSW, particularly those in Greater Sydney, can access urgent mental health support during this difficult time.

This funding complements the $5.15 million already announced to boost mental health services in the state.

“Taken together this package will boost existing crisis and mental health services and provide additional support to young Australians, those currently in isolation and to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities,” said Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt.

“Many of us have experienced the challenges of isolation, fear for loved ones, and the uncertainty the COVID-19 brings to all aspects of our lives. The pandemic continues to take a significant mental health toll on Australians, with increased stress, anxiety and depression in our communities.”

Minister Hunt said while NSW is fighting the spread of COVID-19, it also needed to guard against the devastating mental health impacts the virus can bring.

“This additional mental health investment is crucial to ensuring that those in NSW can access additional support if they need it and that our services can meet increased demand and provide targeted support to those most in need,” Mr Hunt said.

This funding includes:

  • $3.5 million to headspace for additional youth support, with a particular focus on support for Year 11 and 12 students, with funding to be matched by the NSW Government.
  • $1.5 million to Lifeline to boost crisis counselling and increase community engagement.
  • $1.5 million to Sonder to enhance mental health support for those in mandatory isolation, with funding to be matched by the NSW Government.
  • $4 million to Primary Health Networks (PHNs): $2 million to boost commissioned mental health services, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and $2 million to provide targeted support and to work with CALD communities and leaders in impacted areas.
  • $500,000 for a communications campaign to increase awareness of available mental health services and support, aimed at CALD communities.
  • $500,000 to Beyond Blue for services and to increase community engagement with NSW residents.
  • $300,000 to Kids Helpline to extend online wellbeing sessions into secondary schools.
  • $300,000 to the Butterfly Foundation to provide additional support for young people with, or at risk of, an eating disorder and their carers.
  • $150,000 to the Gidget Foundation to boost services for parents suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman said the funding for NSW aligned with a similar investment for the people of Victoria last year.

“We have learned from Victoria that extended lockdowns can significantly impact the mental health of our communities. The Morrison Government acted quickly to provide additional support to Victorians and we are acting quickly to support the people of New South Wales, in close consultation with the NSW Government. This builds on the investment of more than $500 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service anytime via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available  at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

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