Kevin Humphries

ONLINE HELP TO IMPROVE FARMERS’ MENTAL HEALTH

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Farmers in Barwon will have access to more mental health support, with qualified professionals providing real-time online help to communities in rural and remote NSW.

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said tough conditions were putting farmers under increasing pressure, but their location often made it hard to access proper services.

“Drought, fluctuating market prices, and even events like the recent strawberry tampering incidents can really affect the mental health of our farmers,” Mr Humphries said.

“Conditions were already tough, but with 98 per cent of the state declared in drought, this kind of support is now critical.”

Virtual Psychologist, in conjunction with Aussie Helpers, is providing the support in a partnership with Safework NSW’s Centre for Work Health and Safety (WHS).

Mr Humphries said a $100,000 funding boost for the program would provide services for an additional 1,100 farmers across the state.

“Virtual Psychologist includes critical counselling support via a range of methods including SMS chat, email and phone, with referrals to face to face services,” he said

“We want to let our farmers know that we care and we have their back. This is a huge step forward in mental health support for outback NSW.

“It’s part of the first stage of the NSW Government’s $55 million Mentally Healthy Workplaces strategy; the single-biggest investment in workplace mental health in the country’s history.

“Making workplaces mentally healthy is another way to help create a stronger, better future for all workers across NSW.”

It also follows a $6.3 million dollar package announced last month, which includes new farm gate counsellors and frontline mental health workers.

For more information on the Centre for Work Health and Safety go to www.centreforwhs.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.

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