Regional and rural communities facing ongoing adversity in the wake of natural disasters will have access to more mental health support than ever before thanks to the NSW Nationals in the state government.
NSW Nationals Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor announced a $36.4 million package for Response and Recovery Specialists across regional and rural NSW will be included in the 2021-22 NSW Budget.
The announcement continues the NSW Nationals in the state government’s significant investment in mental health services, including a record $2.4 billion in last year’s budget.
Mrs Taylor said the new package will provide 57 Response and Recovery specialists, ensuring services were always available.
The specialists provide mental health counselling, coordination with local services and communities, and ongoing support to individuals and their families at locations of their choosing.
“When the unprecedented drought and bushfires were crippling our state, these counsellors were there to support communities and now they’re on hand to help those affected by other disasters like the mice plague too,” Mrs Taylor said.
“The best thing about these extra 57 mental health specialists is people don’t need to go to their GP to be referred. They can access them through the mental health line or other local services.
“What’s unique about these roles is that the people that undertake this work as counsellors are members of their communities and they can provide local insight, as well as a friendly soft entry to mental health support. This is particularly important for people who are so used to facing significant adversity that they may hesitate to seek help when they need it.”