With the challenges to mental health increasing over recent months, the state Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says that a mental health forum she is co-hosting today, is an opportunity to speak with and listen to local services about mental health issues.
Along with with a special guest, NSW Shadow Minister for Mental Health Tara Moriarty MLC, Ms Saffin has invited more than 20 key stakeholders from Indigenous organisations, local health services, the social welfare sector, not-for-profit sector, emergency services, local government and organisations that work on suicide prevention and care to the forum, where they can lend their frontline experience and expertise, identifying gaps in services and responses.
‘We all know that for many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on their mental health and well-being. The pandemic has created an uncertain and stressful situation for many,’ said Ms Saffin.
‘Since the beginning of COVID-19, a large number of people have contacted me, seeking support on many issues, including mental health.
‘Prior to that, people in rural and regional areas were already struggling due to bushfires, drought, floods and still recovering from the catastrophic damage of the 2017 Cyclone Debbie flood.’
Ms Saffin said that local organisations had done an extraordinary job in supporting the community during these difficult periods.
Thank and acknowledge local organisations
Ms Saffin and Ms Moriarty are using the forum to also thank and acknowledge them for their hard work.
‘It’s humbling that so many in the Lismore community have reached out to share their stories and experiences of dealing with mental health,’ said Ms Moriarty.
‘When people are doing it tough, we have a responsibility to support them to get back on their feet. It is critical that we listen directly to the needs of the community to achieve this.
‘With high demand for services, I’m calling on the Government to provide additional support for mental health across Lismore,’ said Ms Moriarty.
A visit to Headspace Lismore
Yesterday Ms Saffin and Ms Moriarty visited Headspace Lismore. They met with Ms Karri Shaw (Program Manager), Mr Steve Dowker (Senior Manager, Youth & Health) and Ms Terri Connor (Clinical Team Leader) and had an opportunity to talk about Headspace and its role in helping young people deal with mental health issues.
Ms Saffin was instrumental in securing the facility in Lismore during her time as the Federal Member for Page.
To complete this two-day visit, Ms Saffin and Ms Moriarty made a visit to Grow Northern Rivers in Ballina and met with the Regional Manager Mr David McLachlan. Grow is a community-based organisation which supports people with mental illness with their recovery.