2020 has proven to be an upsetting and stressful time for many people, especially for those living with complex mental health issues, but help is at hand with COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN today announcing a new service to support people in the Shoalhaven and Southern NSW regions. According to Dianne Kitcher, CEO of South Eastern NSW PHN, people living with a mental health issue may find their symptoms have returned or become more intense as a result of the devastating bushfires and/or the impact of the current pandemic. “Dealing with stress or loss from the bushfires, or the physical and psychological impacts of isolation, physical distancing and separation from loved ones can exacerbate or trigger the symptoms of mental health issues,” said Ms Kitcher. “The new Rural Outreach Mental Health Service will support people with complex mental health issues via specialist mental health treatment. Education and strategies will be included to help people stay well and to support their mental wellbeing. “Your personal situation and preferences will also be taken into account to offer support which is best suited to your needs,” she said. Services will be provided free of charge within the Shoalhaven and Southern NSW by credentialed mental health nurses.
GPs can refer their patients to the Rural Outreach Mental Health Service through a mental health treatment plan, who will remain under their regular care. “You and your GP will receive feedback on your progress and you will be offered a variety of supports as well as links to other local community support options,” Ms Kitcher added. Ms Fiona Phillips MP, Member for Gilmore welcomed the funding announcement and the continued focus on supporting people with complex mental health issues in our region. “As we all came together to respond to the impact of the bushfires, none of us could have predicted we would be facing another huge crisis so soon. Like the bushfires, the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is unprecedented and for people already living with complex mental health issues, the impact of a pandemic like this can be significant,” said Ms Phillips. “I want to make sure that our community can get the mental health help they need quickly and I am pleased to see great Federally-funded programs like this being delivered on the South Coast,” she said. For more information, visit the Rural Outreach Mental Health Service website at www.romhs.com.au or contact them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 02 4421 7525. This initiative is supported by funding from the Australian Government through the PHN Program.