More than 180 mental health workers will be deployed across the state as part of a $73 million package to boost mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Nationals Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor announced the funding boost, which will help support the mental health and wellbeing of people across the state.

Mrs Taylor, the Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals in the Legislative Council, said the measures complement the Federal Government’s mental health plan and enhance the capacity to support people in their homes rather than in hospitals and emergency departments.

“The NSW Mental Health Line is staffed by specialist mental health clinicians who can provide immediate care and expert advice and make referrals to appropriate services. With this additional funding, it will now be able to take an extra 60,000 calls,” Mrs Taylor said.

“In this time of extraordinary stress on the health system, we are also preparing pop-up mental health Safe Space sites to divert people with mental health issues from emergency departments.”

The mental health support package includes:

• Over 180 additional specialist, community-based mental health clinicians and peer support workers;
• Expanding the virtual mental health program to all local health districts;
• Free access to Tresillian’s digital SleepWellBaby program;
• Capacity for 60,000 extra calls to the 1800 NSW Mental Health Line;
• Creation of pop-up mental health Safe Space sites, reducing pressure on emergency departments.

The NSW Government announced last month $6 million would be provided to Lifeline to ensure it is equipped to respond to the increased needs of the community throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

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