MORE PEER WORKERS TO HELP MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMERS ON THE COFFS COAST

Mental health consumers in the Coffs Harbour electorate will benefit from the NSW Government’s investment in around 30 new Peer Worker positions across NSW, including the Mid North Coast Local Health District.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser announced the $2.7 million investment would reach the Coffs Coast to help mental health consumers transition from hospital back into the community.

“This funding will provide further early interventions, help mental health consumers in the Coffs Harbour electorate during and after a hospital visit and see an increase in comprehensive follow-up supports,” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser said Peer Workers are qualified mental health staff who themselves have personal experience with recovery from mental health issues.

“They are experts who understand and can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, provide hope to people, and demonstrate recovery is possible,” Mr Fraser said.

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said this was a much needed expansion of the state’s peer workforce.

“We are in the midst of a 10-year whole-of-government reform of mental health care in NSW and Peer Workers must play a key role in this journey,” Mrs Davies said.

Further benefits Peer Workers provide to mental health consumers include;

 a flexible, tailored support package for consumers for up to six weeks following an acute mental health admission

 direct face-to-face follow up for people discharged from an acute mental health inpatient setting within seven days

 a link between acute mental health services and the community, including referrals to community managed support services

 a comprehensive, step-up and step-down model of care incorporating Peer Workers from existing adult community mental health services.

As a result of this funding the public peer workforce in NSW will double, from 56 in June 2016, to around 120 in 2018. Currently there are 130 individuals with lived experience who fill 90 full time positions.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For mental health services on the Coffs Coast please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.