Social Workers Offer Support During Mental Health Week
Centrelink social workers received more than 300,000 referrals in the last financial year, many of them the result of last summer’s flooding. In recognition of Mental Health Week, Minister for Human Services Tanya Plibersek and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said the social workers were a fundamental component of services offered by the agency during times of crisis.
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The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP11 October 2011
Minister for Human Services
Minister for Social Inclusion
The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Centrelink social workers received more than 300,000 referrals in the last financial year, many of them the result of last summer’s flooding.
In recognition of Mental Health Week, Minister for Human Services Tanya Plibersek and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said the social workers were a fundamental component of services offered by the agency during times of crisis.
“We know that traumatic events such as family separation, loss of employment, abuse, serious illness or injury, emergencies and natural disasters can cause significant distress and even ongoing mental health problems,” said Ms Plibersek.
“As well as advising people on what support payments the government can make available, our social workers are trained to offer emotional support to Australians experiencing significant hardship, ” Mr Butler said.
Ms Plibersek said the last summer’s natural disasters highlighted the important support role undertaken by Centrelink’s social workers.
“These specialist staff played a frontline role in responding to emergencies and disasters both in Australia and overseas, in addition to their regular work supporting people in need.”
In 2010-2011 Centrelink social workers received some 368,000 referrals for assistance. More than 10,800 of these were in relation to natural disasters and emergencies including Cyclone Yasi, the floods in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, and the Western Australian bushfires.
“In addition, they were called on to provide assistance and support to Australians caught up in the civil unrest in Egypt, the Christchurch earthquake and the Japanese tsunami.”
Ms Plibersek said Centrelink was focused on ensuring people get the support they need to reconnect and participate in their communities and workplaces.
“Centrelink assists thousands of job-seekers back into the workforce every year, but people suffering from mental health issues often require more intensive support to help them find employment,” she said.
She said the Department of Human Services also provided support for families going through separation, working in partnership with external service providers such as Mensline Australia, Family Relationship Services Australia, Financial Counselling Australia and 1800RESPECT.
“A number of online resources are available through Child Support to help separated parents understand and manage the stress of separation, such as the publication ‘What about me?’ which promotes resilience and self care.
Visit the Australian Government Department of Human Services website or call 13 1794 to find out more about the support services available.
Minister Plibersek’s office, Simon Crittle 0466 773 531
Minister Butler's Office, (02) 6277 7280
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