MENTAL health support services across the Mid North Coast will be boosted thanks to a $6.6 million federal budget investment.
Lifeline Mid Coast welcomed the news saying communities across the region have been hit hard with trauma over the last five years with the lingering impacts of drought, bushfires, COVID and floods increasing mental health stress and the demand on services. Lifeline's telephone support service receives a call every 30 seconds and up to 3,000 calls a day nationally from someone needing support.
The government will invest $4 million to Lifeline's 13 11 14 national suicide prevention and crisis support line.
A further $2.5 million will go to Lifeline's HELP Bushfire support service which continues to field calls from people experiencing distress associated with the Black Summer bushfires which claimed two lives on the Mid North Coast and destroyed hundreds of homes.
"We are encouragedto see suicide prevention funding has been announced in the budget," Lifeline Mid Coast CEO Catherine Vaara said.
"$156.8 million from the federal government for follow up care after a suicide attempt is a great step."
Lifeline Mid Coast proactively works in collaboration with the Mid North Coast health district to provide immediate, personalised aftercare for high risk patients following a suicide attempt.
"Our Hospital to Recovery Program supports individuals from hospital discharge to engaging back into the community through various support services such as Centrelink, housing, NDIS, GP and mental health appointments," Ms Vaara said.
Lifeline Mid Coast welcomes the continued funding of its Support After Suicide Attempt group (Eclipse).
In 2021, the Eclipse group will support over 30 local participants who meet once a week for two hours. Participants report that being part of this group has given them hope and a sense of belonging.
Lifeline Mid Coast also supports local people impacted by suicide through monthly bereavement group meetings, Christmas memorials and the Out of the Shadows Walk.
"The federal government's commitment to allocate $22 million to fund events like these will help break down the stigma left by suicide," Ms Vaara said. "By increasing awareness and support activities, we are supporting individuals directly impacted by suicide and who may be struggling with many psycho-social issues. Such stressors result in them being at high risk to suicide."
Lifeline Mid Coast will continue to support the National Prevention Leadership and Support Program and was pleased to see $61.6 million devoted to this campaign to keep suicide, the leading cause of death in Australians aged 18-44, at the forefront of mental health strategies.
In a win for Indigenous mental health support, $16.6 million will fund a specialised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crisis support and suicide prevention helpline.