The Australian Red Cross is set to place two permanent staff in Griffith after outreach work no longer sufficient in tackling migrant mental health issues here. The new team will run their base out of the Griffith Community Centre and will open from the end of November.
The Australian Red Cross have been running outreach services from their Wagga Wagga office for the multicultural community in Griffith for over 10 years however, it was recently decided that a permanent office would open up to provide more consistent, ongoing services in Griffith.
"We are still finalising details but certainly by the end of November we will working from Griffith Community Centre," Neil Barber, Regional Manager of Migration Support Services at the Red Cross said.
The decision comes after people in the multicultural community have been increasingly experiencing adverse mental health issues related primarily to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In the last 12 months we appointed a local person in Griffith into a role supporting refugee mental health needs and that work has significantly increased to a level that requires a permanent office," Mr Barber said.
"With the impact of COVID affecting so many migrants in the Griffith region we've also been funded by Multicultural NSW to employ a case worker to assist humanitarian migrants experiencing extreme hardship."
Sourcing and sustaining regular work has been a major challenge for migrant workers in the region with the majority of them ineligible for government support like JobKeeper and JobSeeker. Travel restrictions have also impeded them from being able to travel to find work elsewhere. What has resulted this year has been many migrant workers falling into financial hardship, not being able to pay rent or provide food for their families explained Mr Barber.
"With our work supporting the mental health needs of the refugee community we have known for a long time that there are very vulnerable migrants in the Griffith community that have limited access to mental health services, much like the general community in fact," Mr Barber said.
Mr Barber wished to express gratitude to Griffith Community Health Centre who have hosted the Red Cross in their space and made it possible for them to provide services in Griffith over the past 10 years.