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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

New mental health services help hundreds

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North Coast Medicare Local (NCML) has this year launched three new mental health services providing some 1250 North Coast residents with quick and easy access to mental health care.

Manager Wendy Pannach, says Mental Health Week provides NCML with an opportunity to remind the community about these services and how to access them.

‘Increasing mental health services on the north coast has been one of North Coast Medicare Local’s priorities and I’m pleased to say that the services we have put into place are ones that people can access quickly and easily,’ Ms Pannach said.

‘In fact, since the Healthy Minds program began this year we have nearly doubled the number of access points for psychological services across the region,’ she added.

She cited the case of Susie, a 32-year-old single mother of two, who recently accessed the service and found it extremely helpful.

‘Susie was becoming increasingly anxious and depressed and was bursting into tears into front of the children,’ she said.

Her local Family Centre had recently employed a mental health nurse and a psychologist, contracted through North Coast Medicare Local, to provide services at the centre. Susie made an appointment to see mental health nurse Kylie.
Susie said the sessions had changed her life.

‘I’ve suffered from anxiety since my early 20s and after 12 sessions with Kylie I’m feeling much calmer and able to cope with the kids. I’ve tried other interventions in the past, but seeing Kylie has been life-changing for me,’ Susie said.

Healthy Minds is offered through a range of community service organisations across the North Coast and has nearly doubled the number of access points for psychological services across the region. Mental Health professionals are contracted by NCML to provide between six to 12 sessions per client in the offices of community organisations so that people can access help at convenient locations. Quality psychological support is available for a range of common, mild to moderately severe emotional and behavioural difficulties. These include  depression, anxiety, substance misuses and eating disorders. A central intake officer receives referrals from GPs.

Other services offered by NCML include:
NewAccess – a beyondblue program funded by The Movember Foundation and beyondblue, and delivered by North Coast Medicare Local. It is a free and confidential support service to help tackle day to day pressures. It’s for people over 18 years of age with early symptoms or mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety who are not accessing mental health services. NewAccess coaches support clients in setting practical goals to get them back on track over six sessions. Sessions can be face to face or held over the phone. People can self-refer by calling 1300 137 934 or emailing [email protected]

headspace – an evidence-based, multi-disciplinary youth mental health service with an emphasis on early detection and intervention. It’s a one-stop shop for the mental health needs of 12 to 25 year olds. Young people can walk in off the street and are encouraged to visit headspace and meet the staff. Staff include a GP, psychiatrist, psychologists and counsellors. Contact headspace Lismore on 6625 0200.

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