Date published: 
18 August 2022
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Albanese Government is delivering $13.1 million in targeted mental health support for NSW communities impacted by the devastating recent floods.

Disasters don’t just affect the economy – there are also severe environmental and social impacts, including impacts on the wellbeing and mental health of individuals and communities – manifesting in increased rates of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and domestic and family violence.

This funding will ensure those most impacted by the floods can receive the support they need to recover. 

The Albanese Government is providing dedicated funding for the Hawkesbury region and other areas which have been severely impacted by these recent floods, including:

  • $4.0 million to establish a permanent Head to Health satellite service in the Hawkesbury and to continue the current temporary Head to Health Pop Up service until the permanent service is established. This funding forms part of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement bilateral schedule with NSW.
  • $1.1 million in 2022–23 to expedite the establishment of a permanent headspace centre in the Hawkesbury region and,
  • $3.4 million over four years to 2025–26 to fund the establishment of a new, permanent, headspace service in a high-need location.

We are also ensuring First Nations communities most impacted by the floods are supported by providing $3.0 million to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to distribute across impacted Community Controlled organisations to provide much needed trauma counselling, healing and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The compounding effect of multiple floods in these communities will have a lasting impact, so improving the availability and accessibility of support is critical during this stage of recovery.

We are investing $1.0 million in 2022–23 for the Hunter, New England and Central Coast, South Western Sydney, South Eastern NSW and Western Sydney Primary Health Networks to deliver Wellbeing and Resilience grants in each region. These grants will provide communities with an opportunity drive their recovery from the floods with projects aimed at building resilience, social connectedness and assisting with the loss, anxiety, and elevated levels of distress caused by these floods.

A further $600,000 in 2022–23 will be provided to the South Western Sydney, South Eastern NSW and Western Sydney Primary Health Networks to engage an Emergency Response Coordinator in each region to work with primary and mental health care providers, and with relevant state and local agencies, to help ensure impacted communities are able to access services.

This funding builds on Australian Government funding provided under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). To date, the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have collectively committed over $310 million in recovery measures for the flooding in July 2022 and $2.376 billion for the flooding in February/March 2022. This is in addition to Australian Government funded recovery payments to individuals in NSW made through Services Australia of over $2.585 billion.

Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or head to the Government’s digital mental health gateway at www.headtohealth.gov.au or call the Head to Health phoneline (1800 595 212).

Attributable to Minister Butler:

“Mental health is one of the Government’s highest priorities and I recognise that these flooding events have been hugely traumatic for many people across New South Wales. For some of these communities, this has been their fourth flood in 18 months.

"Access to appropriate mental health services has never been more important. I want to assure those impacted that help is available and this additional investment will ensure there is more mental health support available in these communities.”

Attributable to Minister Watt: 

“Natural disasters and the recovery process afterwards impact people in a range of ways, and we are committed to making sure help is available. 

“This support comes on top of the $1 billion in federal support already delivered by the Albanese Government to over 1.1 million people impacted by the 2022 NSW floods, along with further joint funding through Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) with the NSW Government.”

Attributable to Assistant Minister McBride:

“Natural disasters like the floods we saw across NSW last month are extremely traumatic and take a toll on individuals and communities.

“The Royal Commission into National Natural Disasters is clear that mental health support is crucial to help people recover from these disasters – but that recovery can take years. These investments into headspace and Head to Health services will create permanent supports in these communities and ensure locals have access to the care they need, when they need it.

“As the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, I want people to know their mental health is a top priority and support is available to them.”

Attributable to Assistant Minister McCarthy:

“Helping First Nations communities deliver culturally safe counselling and mental health support to individuals and families is an important component of our funding.

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations understand the needs of their community best, and they will have flexibility to tailor support based on their invaluable knowledge of the local area.”