MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING FOR ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE

Drought affected communities in rural and remote NSW will benefit from increased funding to the Royal Flying Doctor Service for mental health support.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor today announced the NSW Government will provide $750,000 this year to the Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDSSE) to enhance the Peer Ambassador program they offer to communities in isolated areas of NSW affected by drought. The program is a partnership with Lifeline Broken Hill Country to Coast.

Mrs Taylor said the funding will provide essential mental health support where it is needed most in rural and remote communities experiencing the ongoing drought.

“I am passionate about providing accessible services to those who need it in rural and remote areas. By providing additional support to the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s peer support programs, we are able to support more individuals, families and communities in need,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We know access to early intervention and prevention mental health services can be very difficult for people in isolated areas to access. That’s why the services provided by the Royal Flying Doctor are so critical in overcoming the challenges that distance presents.”

RFDSSE Chief Executive Officer Greg Sam said this is especially important in remote areas where there is a reluctance to seek help, which contributes to higher levels of mental distress.

“Not only does the Royal Flying Doctor Service provide direct mental health support through face to face clinical services and psychological support by phone or email, we also promote mental health and wellbeing support through prevention and early intervention initiatives to address community needs. Today’s announcement is focused on prevention and early intervention; enabling people on the land to give a hand to others in need,” Mr Sam said.

This funding is part of the $8.275 million allocated in the Emergency Drought Package to improve access to and delivery of mental health services in rural and remote communities. This funding brings the total drought support investment to $1.8 billion provided by the NSW State Government.