Western NSW residents will have even greater access to mental health support with the opening of a new Lifeline centre in Dubbo.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders joined Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor to open the new, purpose-built centre, made possible thanks to $600,000 in special funding from the NSW Government.
Mr Saunders said the centre comes at a critical time for his community.
“The brutal forces of drought, COVID-19 and financial uncertainty are taking a toll on the strongest and most resilient among us,” he said.
“One of my priorities after being elected was to see Lifeline’s local footprint expanded and supported, and funding for an appropriate building has been a key component of that.
“It’s important for people to know they can lean on trained counsellors who live in the area and know the situations confronting people in central west NSW.”
Minister Taylor said the NSW Government wants people living in the Central West to be able to access timely support from counsellors who understand their local community and the pressures they might be under.
“As well as establishing a dedicated Lifeline presence in Dubbo, the funding will also allow Lifeline Central West to triple the number of crisis telephone calls answered in Dubbo and its surrounds,” she said.
The new centre will also be the base for the Rapid Community Support Program (Rapid) – an outreach program which goes directly to towns hit by significant events such as drought and bushfire to provide counselling and support within their own community.
The service received a $500,000 boost from the NSW Government to enable it to continue operations as part of an additional $6 million investment provided to Lifeline in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEO of Lifeline Central West Stephanie Robinson said the Dubbo-based team will serve a vast area, including Wellington, Narromine, Mendooran, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Walgett, Bourke and Lightning Ridge.
“Our new centre will be a safe space for people to have group or one-on-one counselling sessions and will also serve as a base for our trained volunteers to provide community outreach,” Ms Robinson said.
Lifeline Central West is a not-for-profit organisation with offices in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo with nine full-time staff and approximately 130 trained volunteers.
The NSW Government has invested over $25 million in Lifeline over 4 years.