Member for Morwell Russell Northe this week in Parliament called for better support for local organisations who are working tirelessly in the areas of life education, mental health and suicide prevention services and advocacy.
“In terms of suicide prevention the Government announced an ambitious target to half the Victorian suicide rate by 2025, but the reality on the ground is that the community and volunteer services operating to achieve this goal are at risk of closing, or can’t provide adequate services to those suffering mental illness”, Mr Northe said.
“This week, I used Question Time in Parliament to ask the Minister for Mental Health why the State Government is turning its back on the very people that are working towards this target”. said Mr Northe.
A number of organisations in the local area have called for additional State Government funding so they can continue or enhance their vital services. The reality is:
• Mental health advocacy group Barrier Breakers is at serious risk of shutting its doors, if funding is not urgently found
• Lifeline Gippsland desperately needs more funding to provide additional training to increase the number of Crisis Supporters who respond to 13 14 11 calls; fund the Connect Call Back Service, which provides ongoing phone support from trained Crisis Support Workers to people living in Gippsland facing a crisis and implement face to face peer support groups for our most vulnerable people
• Life Education Gippsland cannot deliver its vital programs across all Gippsland schools, only to those who are able to raise the necessary funds
“Despite the Government acknowledging the significance and urgency of life education, mental health services and suicide prevention, the funding is not filtering through to the organisations on the frontline of these issues”, Mr Northe said.
“I’m calling upon the Government to change its position and invest in these organisations as a matter of priority”.