Health | February 22, 2024

Government finally agrees to fund mental health support for fire-affected communities

After a week of tenacious community advocacy and pleas to ministers, the state government has been forced to signed off on desperately-needed support for Victoria's bushfire-affected regions.

Member for Lowan and Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy has worked tirelessly with the Pomonal and Dadswells Bridge communities and Grampians Community Health to urge the government to fund the deployment of additional mental health support in the wake of last week’s devastating bushfires, where 46 properties were lost.

After Ms Kealy made numerous calls and emails to the Premier’s office, spoke in Parliament to the Premier and Minister for Mental Health, and raised the matter during Parliamentary debate, the government finally announced today that it would provide the necessary funding.

“Residents in these communities should be able to count on the government to deliver immediate support in times of crisis, and it saddens me that the wonderful people of Pomonal and Dadswells Bridge have had to wait for this extra mental health funding to flow,” Ms Kealy said.

“For the past week, Grampians Community Health’s case management teams have stood ready to assist to bolster the two counsellors already made available, but no one in the Labor Government would agree to cover the cost of this extra support.

“Instead, when residents in our community needed help most, they were being directed to oversubscribed services hours away with months-long waitlists.

"These newly-funded mental health case managers will be matched to individual residents and will work side by side with them throughout their recovery over the next 12 months.

“Access to the additional mental health case managers is in line with evidence-based best practice and will make a profound and lasting difference to how residents in these communities recover.

"I will continue to stand with these fire-impacted communities and fight to ensure that the government does everything in its power to support them now and in the months and years to come.”

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