26 September 2023

Mental health support for flood survivors

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Access to essential trauma and recovery services is to be fast tracked to the communities hardest hit by the recent flooding disaster.

Announced by Premier Dominic Perrottet, the funding package is to provide mental health support for people in flood-affected communities across the State.

Mr Perrottet said the Wellbeing Package would provide immediate mental health and well-being support in recovery centres to people devastated by the floods and help them get back on their feet as soon as possible.

He said NSW Health would support the immediate mental health needs of the Northern NSW community by deploying mental health clinicians from Northern NSW, Mid North Coast and Northern Sydney Local Health Districts.

“Teams from Hunter New England and Western NSW Local Health Districts are also being prepared to travel to northern NSW to assist,” Mr Perrottet said.

Deputy Premier, Paul Toole said the funding would have an initial focus on communities across the Northern Rivers, with other areas likely to be included as the full impact of the floods became clearer.

“The task before us is complex and extensive,” Mr Toole said.

“People’s mental health will not only be affected by the floods but by the enormity of the clean-up effort and the uncertainty it brings.”

He said that to ensure the mental health recovery effort was as coordinated, responsive and targeted as possible, NSW Health would work with Headspace and Lifeline to manage the response, “with local input sourced from the community and local health networks”.

Minister for Mental Health, Bronnie Taylor said $5 million in grants would be allocated to non-government organisations to deliver local trauma and recovery programs so that support remained available “long after” the clean-up finished.

Mrs Taylor said the funding package also included $7 million over three years to fund Primary Health Networks to engage both clinical and non-clinical workforce; $5 million for state-wide needs-based resourcing and support; $3.5 million over three years to recruit 10 Local Recovery Coordinators; and $1 million to set up four pop-up Safe Havens in the areas hardest hit.

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