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More Support For Mental Health And Wellbeing After Bushfires

11 March 2020

People struggling with their mental health after the state’s devastating bushfires will get more immediate and long-term support during the recovery under a $23.4 million investment from the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley announced the funding package in Corryong today, which will see a host of practical programs delivered to affected communities as well as expanded mental health services - despite the strength of Victorians to get through the bushfire recovery, we know we need to stand beside them as they rebuild.

The package includes $8.75 million to expand mental health services, provide specialist early intervention mental health advice to GPs and community health clinicians, and provide post-disaster treatment and advisory services through leading research centres.

The package will also provide $6.6 million for practical mental health support programs such as:

  • training local groups like football clubs to recognise when teammates are developing mental illness
  • providing advice and training to parents to support their children through the long-term process of recovery
  • peer outreach programs for farmers, foresters and small business owners
  • health and wellbeing meet-ups such as local exercise groups, social events, and camps for young people.
The package also includes $3 million for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to establish social and emotional wellbeing programs, aligned with the recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The announcement is on top of the $14.4 million provided to establish the Victorian Bushfires Case Support in January, which is accessible by calling 1800 560 760.

The Labor Government has now committed $307.4 million to bushfire response and recovery.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“This disaster has had a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities – and that impact will continue for years.”

“While the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System is underway and recommending lifesaving reforms, we’re making sure Victorian’s can get the help they need, when they need it.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes

“These practical programs are about helping people come together and approach mental health recovery not merely as individuals but as part of a larger network of peers, neighbours, friends, teammates and colleagues.”

Reviewed 26 June 2020

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