Child protection caseworkers will receive more frequent and easily accessible mental health services as part of the NSW government’s $130 million mental health recovery package.
Nationals Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor said child protection caseworkers have been working around the clock to keep kids safe during the pandemic, often under challenging circumstances.
“Child protection caseworkers are exposed to some of the most difficult and tragic situations imaginable and this funding will enable them to access specialist support when they need it,” Mrs Taylor said.
“We recognise that as we navigate the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic, we must also prioritise mental wellbeing, and child protection caseworkers are a cohort that our Government is committed to supporting.”
The NSW Government expanded its Employee Assistance Program to all funded NGOs working in the social services sector throughout the recent lockdown.
The $3 million expansion of caseworker wellbeing checks will build on that support, providing thousands of child protection staff across the state with more frequent and easily accessible services.
Work is underway to roll out the expanded services by next month.
The NSW Nationals in the state government are also investing in sporting clubs and multicultural communities to provide support for people whose mental health has been impacted by COVID-19.
Mrs Taylor has announced a $3 million commitment over one year to the Mental Health Sporting Fund, providing tailored mental health programs to local sporting groups.
The first funding round of this type was announced in early 2020, with 24 local sporting bodies receiving grants.
“We have now more than doubled the contribution from the last funding round, so many more sporting groups can take part in this important initiative,” Mrs Taylor said.
“The pandemic’s impact on people’s mental health throughout our state has been significant. It’s important we establish valuable touchpoints for mental health support out in the community.”
The Mental Health Recovery Package also includes an investment of $3.2 million over four years to establish a multilingual Mental Health Line, the first of its kind in NSW.
The line will open in November and will be available in more than 30 languages, staffed by senior clinicians.