The Australian Government understands that some farmers, farm families and rural communities are doing it tough because of the drought and this can affect their mental health and wellbeing. To assist, the Australian Government is investing up to an additional $10.7 million to enhance social and community support for drought-affected areas.
This measure will provide free professional help, including one-on-one counselling, family support services and referrals to people in need. Community engagement activities and events will be a key focus to link people to services that meet their individual needs.
The funding will enhance existing programmes delivered by the Department of Social Services. These programmes include the:
The services and events to be delivered through these programmes will:
- provide support services for families dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, family relationship issues and physical health problems
- act as referral points for people needing services
- identify people who can be assisted through community-based mental health services, and where necessary refer them to medical services
- educate communities about the cause and early signs of mental health issues
- build community resilience by promoting better general and mental health and emotional wellbeing.
More information about the services to be delivered and a list of service providers is available on the DSS website or by calling 1300 653 227.
This measure also includes funding for five Drought Coordinators, based in the drought-affected areas of New South Wales and Queensland, to ensure services are coordinated and support is accessible to those who need it. More information is available by contacting the Department of Human Services Drought and Farmer Assistance Hotline 13 23 16 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm local time).
This measure will complement the range of existing services and support that are available on an ongoing basis to assist people who are experiencing distress or mental illness. These services are available now.
I think I know someone who needs help. Who can I call?
How do I access social support in my local area?
The Targeted Community Care (Mental Health) Program and Family Support Program provide funding to service providers across Australia. More information about these programmes, and locating support available in your local area, can be found by following these links.
The social support package will utilise existing networks of service providers.
Targeted Community Care Programs