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Oct 02 2020

Mental Health Matters

Mental ill health, just like physical ill health, can effect anyone at any time. It doesn’t discriminate. Even though conversations about mental health and wellbeing are now more mainstream, there are still those with mental ill health who continue to suffer alone. 

Our region has experienced one of its most challenging years to date. We know that mental illness or distress is at an all-time high, with organisations such as Black Dog Institute reporting instances of anxiety and worry in the community could be as high as 33% during a pandemic. On top of this, our region has also had to navigate its way through bushfires and floods.

The good news is that we have been busy ensuring that we have the appropriate supports in place, with our teams working hard to strengthen existing services, as well as implement new ones. 

We are proud that we have recently opened the Katoomba headspace, which means that we now have headspace centres in three out of four local government areas in our region. Young people have faced unique challenges throughout this time, but our hope is that this service will be a safe place for young people to seek the help and care they need for their mental health and wellbeing. 

Our Community Recovery team (formerly the Empowering Our Communities (EOC) team) have been working hard to ensure our EOC Grant recipients were supported throughout the pandemic. Some of our Grant recipients were able to adjust their projects to be delivered online throughout the restrictions, however many had to pause their projects for a period of time. Almost half of them have now been able to resume, which is an incredible effort. Our Grant recipients are as passionate as ever, dedicated to ensuring their communities stay connected during this time. 

The team have also been working hard on bushfire recovery, collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure those most affected in our region are aware of the supports and services available to them. We are working with our stakeholders providing services, to identify and personally invite those directly impacted to be the first ones to benefit from our bushfire recovery funds.

We are keeping our most vulnerable front of mind, with the Social Isolation and the Wisemind programs helping to reduce isolation, loneliness and poor mental health in older people.
 
We would like to remind everyone that if you or someone you know is in need of support, our Mental Health Navigation Tool is a great way to find local services and programs. 

As I have said before, our region’s incredible resilience continues to amaze me. What the last 12 months has shown me is that people will band together and support one another when times get tough. Things may continue to be difficult for some time yet, but it’s important to remember that we are all in this together and support is always available.  

If you need help now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Emergency on triple zero (000)

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Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.

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