The NSW Government has announced $6.3 million for "farm gate" councillors across the state.
The funding over the next two years will see 20 farm gate councillors and frontline mental health workers deployed will be based in the Western, Hunter New England, Murrumbidgee, Nepean Blue Mountains, South Western Sydney and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Districts.
The Hunter New England District will receive three.
The more than $6 million will also go towards vital education for existing frontline support staff and ten local wellbeing events to be held in towns across the State.
The community events will be held in Dubbo, Yeoval, Narromine, Nyngan, Bourke, Coonamble, Walgett, Coonabarabran, Mudgee and Gilgrandra.
Minister for Regional NSW and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said putting mental health support at the centre of the State’s response to the drought is critical to ensure communities build resilience to brave it through the current severe conditions.
“Our farmers and their families are under daily pressure to feed stock, operate a business and keep the household running and there is no doubt this takes its toll your wellbeing,” John Barilaro said.
“Simply being able to speak to someone about your mental health is one of the strongest tools we have to get through these challenging times."
“We have increased the number of ‘farm gate’ counsellors on-hand ready to talk to farmers, individuals and business owners in our regional communities and walk side-by-side with them through this drought,” said John Barilaro.
For crisis support please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information on mental health services in your community contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or visit www.crrmh.com.au for rural mental health information.
Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse