21 April 2023

Moruya's new walk-in mental health service to provide a lifeline for community

| Katrina Condie
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Young person with head in hands

The free walk-in mental health service will provide immediate support when it is needed most. Photo: Region.

A free walk-in mental health care service will be operational in the Eurobodalla by the middle of this year.

The new Moruya Head to Health service will receive $3.5 million funding over four years to become established.

Head to Health provides short- to medium-term care for adults with moderate to severe levels of mental health needs and immediate support and follow up for people presenting in crisis or distress.

Services are provided by a multidisciplinary team which includes psychologists, social workers, alcohol and other drug workers and peer workers.

All services provided by Head to Health are fully government funded, free to access, and there is no need for an appointment or GP referral.

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State Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland said access to mental health services in the regions had been an ongoing issue.

“This joint commitment from the NSW and Federal Governments for this Head to Health service in Moruya is a much-needed lifeline for the community,” Dr Holland said.

“I’ve heard about the struggles our constituents have faced trying to seek help after some very hard years, including ongoing effects of the Black Sumer bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having a walk-in service that doesn’t require a referral means making that first step to seek help could be all that much easier.”

He says hospitals are not always the right environment for someone suffering from mental health concerns.

“It’s fantastic to see this free multidisciplinary service coming to our region.”

Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips said access to quality healthcare services in the regions was important.

“These services will make it easier for people in Moruya and surrounds to access the help they need, when they need it,” she said.

“The multidisciplinary team providing services at Head to Health will ensure that residents of Moruya and surrounds have more access to the support they need and deserve to manage their mental health needs.”

The Australian and New South Wales Governments have jointly committed $45.7 million over four years to establish and operate new services in several regional locations under the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement.

Head to Health services will simplify access to mental health advice and support, making quality information and care more accessible for people across New South Wales.

For more information, please visit Head to Health services.

The Federal Government is also offering grants to strengthen GP practices on the South Coast.

The Strengthening Medicare – General Practice (GP) Grants Program will allow all general practices and eligible Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) to expand patient access and improve their services.

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The GP grants will support investments in innovation, training, equipment, and minor capital works that enhance digital health capability, upgrade infection prevention and control arrangements and to maintain and/or achieve accreditation against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practices (5th edition).

Grants will be provided to local practices depending on accredited GP practice size. Smaller practices are eligible for grants of $25,000 or $35,000, and larger practices are eligible for grants of $50,000. GP practices and ACCHOs not currently accredited against the RACGP standards will be eligible for $25,000.

Over the coming weeks, PHNs and NACCHO will be sending letters directly to general practices in Gilmore inviting participation in the grants program.

Ms Phillips said the grants would provide a “much-needed boost to care in our region”.

“Access to quality affordable health care is at the top of the list of concerns when I talk to locals on the South Coast.

“I’m proud to be part of a government that recognises the hard work of our GPs and Aboriginal Health organisations.”

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