Nationals State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is seeking more information on two mental health and wellbeing centres to be established in Bairnsdale and Orbost.
“Having spoken of the increasing need for mental health supports in our region in Parliament, particularly on the back or drought, fires and Covid, this is overdue – but we need to know more,” he said.
“While the announcement has been made, unfortunately there is little detail that has been provided either to my office or local agencies, which is something I will pursue in the coming weeks.
“For instance, one element I am keen to establish is whether these centres will offer outreach services as we have many residents in remote communities that need supports taken to them.
“Our services in rural areas need to be structured differently to those in the suburbs. There needs to be an understanding of what will work in the regions and what will best serve those individuals who are dealing with tough times.
“People will welcome a cup of tea in their own home but are reticent to come to an office in town. That is feedback we hear time and again, so that is something these centres should be offering.
“Local mental health practitioners have managed the demands locally with great professionalism, care and to the best of their abilities, but it is clear they need more help due to the levels of demand,” he said.
“We know it is difficult retaining qualified specialists in rural areas, so recruiting must be targeted to ensure we have the mental health practitioners to deliver these essential services at these centres.
“Mental health services are desperately needed in East Gippsland and these facilities can’t come soon enough, but we need the Government to explain to our communities how they will be staffed, how they will function and to consult with us about the services we require.”