Kevin Humphries

HUGE BOOST TO SUPPORT STUDENT WELFARE AND MENTAL HEALTH IN BARWON SCHOOLS

Friday, 22 February 2019

Every public high school in Barwon will have two dedicated experts to ensure students have access to vital mental health and wellbeing support.

Nationals Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said an $88 million investment by the NSW Nationals will mean that every public high school student in Barwon will have access to highly-qualified mental health professionals that they can confidentially speak to about bullying, anxiety, stress or any other difficult issue they may face.

“We have to normalise speaking up and seeking help when it comes to mental health and make sure our students know there is always someone they can turn to for support,” Mr Humphries said.

Up to 100 additional full-time school counsellors or psychologists, as well as 350 student support officers, will be employed across NSW public high schools. Importantly, these experts will have the ability to refer students who require greater assistance to mental health services.

Kevin Humphries said this will make it easy for young people to access help when they’re going through a tough time and also give teachers the support they need to deal with challenges faced by students.

“We know from teachers and principals – and the students themselves – what an impact this has on reducing stress and improving academic performance, as well as how much the students embrace the extra support,” Kevin Humphries said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the investment will provide vital support for communities in regional NSW.

“By offering mental health support in schools, we can identify kids who need help early, and make sure they’re looked after,” Mr Barilaro said.

“With the ice epidemic and youth suicide being major issues in regional NSW, it is important our kids have access to life-saving support services no matter where they live.”

The Government will also partner with mental health organisations to bring their expertise and experience to school communities.

“It is critical that parents, teachers and students know there is always someone they can turn to for support,” Mr Barilaro said.

Since being elected, the NSW Government has increased funding for student wellbeing by more than $200 million, with an additional 236 school counselling positions funded over the past three years, bringing the total full-time counselling positions to 1081.

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