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Pat Conaghan MP

Boost to mental health services in Cowper

Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan, has welcomed funding that will provide a major boost to community-based mental health services in Coffs Harbour.

Fully funded through the Coalition Government’s historic National Mental Health and Suicide Plan announced in the 2021-22 Budget, Mr Conaghan said the Coalition continues to make the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians a national priority.

Head to Health satellite services are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma, ‘no wrong door’, entry point for adults to access mental health information, services and supports.

“I encourage people who are worried about their own or a loved one’s mental health to visit this centre – you don’t have to go it alone,” Mr Conaghan said.

“The services are free, and referrals can also be made for more intensive mental health care or social supports if needed.

“The Coffs Harbour Head to Health satellite service is part of a network of community-based mental health services being established around Australia as part of the Government’s $3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system.”

The satellite service will be commissioned by North Coast Primary Health Network which will receive a total of $3.4 million over four years to establish and operate the satellite.

The satellite will be integrated within the primary care setting to offer support to adults with moderate to severe levels of mental illness over the short to medium term.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said this was one of many Head to Health satellite services being established across the country, which will provide mental health support to Australians, when they need it.

“We know that the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have been incredibly difficult and stressful for many Australians, and particularly younger Australians,” Minister Hunt said.

“That is why we are prioritising mental health support, ensuring that people have access to care that can help them recover and reach their full potential as we reopen the country.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said mental health and suicide prevention remained one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.

“We are committed to further expanding mental health services to ensure Australians can get support, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“These services will provide that much needed support, as well as creating a safe space for Australians experiencing high levels of distress or who are at heightened risk of suicide.”

The PHN will consult with the community to determine the exact locations and ensure that the services provide support in a way that meets the needs of the local community.

The Coalition Government continues to make mental health a national priority, investing a record $3 billion in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Budgets for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system.

This brings the Health portfolio expenditure in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2022–23 to a record high of $6.8 billion.

Unlike the Labor Party, which has not given Australians any detail on their plans for mental health, the Morrison Government will continue to ensure that all Australians can access information, advice, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).

 

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