Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP has welcomed the recent announcement of $76 million in health and mental health support for bushfire affected communities, but the funding is needed now.
It is clear that mental health support for the community will be vital in helping the community recover from both the immediate and ongoing impacts of the bushfires and Mrs Phillips wants to see this support delivered to local communities urgently.
“For weeks now I have been speaking with people impacted by the fires and the emotional toll on everyone in the community is absolutely clear,” Mrs Phillips said.
“I want to make sure that everyone in our community can access the help and support they need to fully recover from this terrible crisis as soon as possible,”
As part of the announcement, trauma counsellors will be deployed in fire affected communities and additional funding has been provided for Mental Health Plans through Medicare. Fiona Phillips has sought further advice from the Minister about where these counsellors will be deployed and when.
“We know that mental health is one of the top reasons people visit a GP and the government needs to provide more support so people in our community can access a GP quickly,” Mrs Phillips said.
$4.4 million was also committed to accelerate plans to establish a full headspace in Batemans Bay, with the service to be operational by the end of the year. For months, the Gilmore MP has been advocating for the centre’s plans to be accelerated.
“It is vital that young people can access the mental health support they need immediately and I want to make sure that this support is available as soon as practicable,” she said.
Fiona Phillips is seeking further advice from the Minister on the announcement, including an assurance that additional headspace satellite and outreach services will immediately be provided locally.
“It has been heartening to see the community pulling together to support each other through this crisis, but it is clear that more needs to be done to help people recover,” the Gilmore MP said.
Local people needing mental health support following the bushfire are encouraged to contact the numbers below:
- Free face to face counselling with Grand Pacific Health on 1800 228 987
- Relationships Australia grief counselling in the Moruya and Bega offices on 6122 7100
- headspace free for young people 12-25 years old:
- Nowra 4421 5388
- Wollongong 4220 7660
- Bega 1800 959 844
- 24/7 helplines:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800