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Canberrans in need receive additional mental health support during lockdown

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The ACT Government is extending a range of existing mental health support services to Canberrans in significant need during lockdown.

Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said the last lockdown period revealed six specific groups of Canberrans with particular mental health support needs.

“This support is to ensure more people at-risk have greater access to mental health resources and assistance when they feel most isolated,” Minister Davidson said.

“The ACT Government is acting on evidence from the last lockdown period about particular mental health support needs in the community.

“For example, during the last lockdown period, there was heightened anxiety among expectant and new parents, and additional distress within the LGBTQI+ community which is at increased risk generally.

“That’s why, during this stressful time, we are extending mental health support through partner organisations to expectant and new parents, members of the LGBTQI+ community, young people suffering mental ill-health, people experiencing both homelessness and mental ill-health, and carers.”

Additional funding of $260,000 has been divided between the six areas of identified need:

  • $40,000 has been allocated to Perinatal Wellbeing to extend support to families who are about to have a baby or who are caring for a newborn.
  • $40,000 has been allocated to Meridian to scale-up existing services to support at-risk Canberrans in the LGBTQI+ community at particular risk of heightened mental ill-health.
  • $40,000 has been allocated to Catholic Care to extend services to young people suffering moderate to severe mental illness requiring more intensive support at home.
  • $40,000 has been allocated to Mental Health Justice Health Alcohol and Drugs Service (MHJHADS) to extend the Homelessness Outreach Team pilot supporting people with severe mental illness experiencing homelessness.
  • $40,000 has been allocated to Carers ACT to support carers. Carers and the people they care for are at risk of isolation and mental ill-health, likely to be exacerbated due to the COVID lockdown. People with disability are at higher risk of significant ill-health from COVID-19, and many carers have disabilities or chronic conditions themselves.
  • $40,000 has been allocated to Woden Community Service to meet the increased support requested of suicide prevention services. Implementation will be via grant to Woden Community Service to scale up the existing Way Back Support Service.
  • $20,000 has also been allocated for materials and activities to help contact and connect with groups of Canberrans who do not use social media and require printed materials or are harder to reach through other channels.

“This is additional support for Canberrans belonging to some particular groups identified during the last lockdown as having significant need for increased mental health support during this stressful time. This is of course not the sum total of the support being provided to vulnerable Canberrans whose mental health and wellbeing is suffering due to the community lockdown and public health emergency.” said Coordinator-General of the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Dr Elizabeth Moore.

There is information about a range of support services available through the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website, the Community Services Directorate’s website and the ACT Government’s Business Hub website.

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