The Liberal and Nationals Government is boosting mental health support in nine drought-affected communities, with Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Regional Services (Health and Communications) Senator Bridget McKenzie announcing a Trusted Advocates Network Trial to be rolled out in nine communities in four states.
“I’m delighted to be in regional New South Wales today and announce that nine communities in our drought affected areas in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria will be locations for a Trusted Advocate Trial, where we enable the local Primary Health Network (PHN) to reach out into the community and help those who are struggling with the impact of drought,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The local PHN will provide support and training to community leaders who are trusted faces in our towns and villages. Sometimes people don’t necessarily need to go through the clinical process at first instance – they just need someone to talk to who understands what the conditions are like in their community at that moment in time, and is a familiar, comforting presence already in their lives.
“This trial comes on the back of recommendations from Major General Stephen Day who we appointed Drought Coordinator last year, in recognition of just how damaging and widespread the current drought has been. Some of the feedback he received was that people who are already feeling stressed or concerned can find it hard to open up to people they don’t know. We have taken this feedback and developed this trial to enable local communities to strengthen their own local drought support network.