Griffith looks set to benefit from a new mental health specialist in the region, following the announcement of a $36.5 million fund being rolled out across the state.
The package, announced by the NSW Government over the weekend, will fund 57 response and recovery specialists assisting in areas impacted by natural disasters.
The specialists are integrated in the community and provide mental health counselling, coordination with local services and community, as well as ongoing support to individuals and their families.
Speaking to The Area News, the Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor's office confirmed that due to the impact of the recent drought, one position in Griffith has been locked in.
Discussions are also set to be held on potentially sending additional response and recovery specialists to the region as the NSW Government finalises exact numbers.
However it was suggested areas of the state impacted by the ongoing mouse plague are likely to receive the most support.
In a statement, Mrs Taylor said the specialists would ensure those impacted by natural disasters would have support available at all times.
"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," 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."
Member for Murray Helen Dalton has been pushing for improvements to mental health services in her electorate for years.
She said having one response and recovery specialist in Griffith was good but far from enough.
"It's no surprise that after so much community uproar, we finally see a Government announcement of mental health funding," Mrs Dalton said. "But this is a band aid on an epidemic."
"We don't just need one specialist ... we need a 24/7 mental health service in our hospital and incentive packages to attract mental health professionals to this region."
"I'd urge people to maintain the rage and keep making some noise until the NSW Government properly address this issue."
If you or someone you know needs help contact;
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
- Griffith Suicide Prevention and Suicide Support Group on 1300 133 911
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