Latest News

Funding boost for mental health services

The NSW Government has allocated $1.4million towards suicide prevention in the Clarence Valley, which will be administered by CRANES Community Support Programs: Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis (fourth and fifth from left) are pictured with CRANES’ executive team: (l-r) Stephen Tatham (chairperson), Angelena Fixter (CEO), Mark McGrath (manager Healthy Minds), Barry Williams (deputy chairperson) and John Lysaught (operations director). Image: Contributed

The NSW Government has funded CRANES Community Support Programs to run the Clarence Coordinated Aftercare Service.
Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis made the $1.4million announcement last Friday.
The funding is part of a state-wide $8 million investment and will be used for suicide prevention initiatives in the Clarence Valley, “which reach out and support people who are at risk of suicide”.
“The evidence shows that a suicide attempt is the strongest risk factor for subsequent suicide,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“Through CRANES, we can help provide intensive support to individuals and their families in the vulnerable period after a suicide attempt to reduce this risk and to promote their recovery.
“One of the most important factors in this funding for CRANES is that the initiative was developed locally by the community and involves collaboration across community organisations, local health districts and primary health networks in the Clarence Valley area.”
Ms Davies said the Suicide Prevention Fund aims to lower the rate of suicide.
“It’s a key part of our decade-long, whole-of-government enhancement of mental health care.”
The initiative will be funded for four years; successful projects across state were “awarded under an open, competitive tender process and evaluated by an expert panel”.
Safe spaces for youth
Ms Davies and Mr Gulaptis also announced that $170,000 would be provided to establish ‘safe spaces’ for young people over the next 12 months.
“For the next year, while long-term projects like Headspace are established, the NSW Government will invest in The New School of Arts to operate the Pop-Up Youth and Community Drop-In spaces in Grafton, and the Maclean/Yamba area,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“These safe spaces will be operated by highly-skilled community services professionals, and supported by teams of specially-trained volunteers to provide support to young people and their families.
He said the New School of Arts will also provide information and support services via telephone and social media.
“These safe spaces are part of the Our Healthy Clarence initiative made up of local organisations, community groups and individuals,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“Our community is working to ensure young people know there are safe places they can go to access support.”
Ms Davies said the “spaces will provide access to quality health and well-being information, support and referrals to local services and programs, and spaces to hold meetings, support groups, community activities and events”.
People experiencing mental health difficulties in the Clarence Valley are urged to phone the Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511, 24 hours, seven days a week. Alternatively, phone: Lifeline on 13 11 14; Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800; The Family and Carer Mental Health Support Program (Mission Australia) on 6658 7831; The Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation (Grafton) weekdays on 6643 2199; The Grafton Mental Health Family and Carers support group on 6649 3660; The StandBy Response Service on 0417 119 298 (available 24 hours, seven days a week); and, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
At the time of writing, spokespeople for CRANES and the New School of Arts were not available for comment; the Independent will publish more about the initiatives, from their perspective, in next week’s edition.