Mental Health – increased mental health services for drought-affected communities

Farming families and communities affected by the ongoing drought will receive more mental health services and counselling.

Page last updated: 08 May 2007

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Why is this important?

  • The ongoing drought is affecting the mental health of farming families and rural communities. Many affected communities need more mental health assistance.
  • The new Mental Health Support for Drought-Affected Communities measure will provide crisis counselling services for distressed individuals in drought-declared rural areas, and education and training for clinicians and community leaders. It will also increase the capacity of communities to respond to drought-related psychological trauma.
  • The existing Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas initiative will also be expanded. It will fund additional mental health services provided by allied health professionals including social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, mental health nurses, and Aboriginal health workers.

Who will benefit?

  • The Mental Health Support for Drought-Affected Communities measure will help families, health professionals and community leaders across a range of drought-affected communities. The funding will be delivered through up to 39 individual Divisions of General Practice throughout a range of drought-affected communities.
  • The Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas measure also benefits drought- affected communities, providing up to 114 allied health and/or mental health nursing professionals over four years for people with mental illness.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Government has committed $10.1 million over two years to the new mental health initiative for drought-stricken areas, and an additional $20.6 million over four years to the Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas measure. This adds to the $51.7 million originally allocated to this measure in the Budget.

What have we done in the past?

  • The Government has funded mental health programs such as the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care program, and the Better Access to psychiatrists, psychologists and GPs through the MBS initiative. The new measures will build upon these existing initiatives.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This is an ongoing initiative.

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