Hope and help is on the way to the people of Western NSW thanks to $600,000 in special funding by the NSW Government for Lifeline Central West.
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor joined Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders to announce the funding, which will be used to purchase a new Lifeline building in Dubbo to accommodate the growing number of volunteers needed to provide suicide prevention and mental health counselling and training services to the region.
Mr Saunders said the funding will allow Lifeline to provide a Rapid Community Support Program.
“Lifeline Dubbo will be the base for a new outreach program that goes directly to any town that has been hit by a significant event such as suicide and provide counselling and support within their own community,” he said.
Mrs Taylor said the funding will provide on-the-ground assistance at a time when so many in regional NSW are doing it tough.
“The severity of mental health issues that are affecting the Central West are growing as this terrible drought weighs heavily on communities,” Mrs Taylor said.
“It’s critical that as people are increasingly willing to seek help, we have the support at hand when they need it.
“As a regional nurse for 20 years I’ve seen how significant a difference it makes when help is delivered locally, and I can’t thank the Lifeline volunteers enough for the amazing work they do.”
Lifeline Central West Executive Director Alex Ferguson says having a permanent facility in Dubbo allows the service to reach almost half of regional NSW.
“The further west in the state you go, the more the problems mount. Isolation and drought add to the rates of mental illness and self-harm across the population.
“The new building will allow Lifeline to double its capacity to answer calls to its phone counselling services and facilitate new services specifically tailored for Indigenous communities.”
Lifeline Central West employs 19 staff and has approximately 130 volunteers. This announcement builds on the NSW 2019/20 budget funding for NSW Lifeline Centres of more than $18m over 4 years to provide suicide prevention and crisis support by telephone and text.