As the first year anniversary of the devastating floods in the Central West of NSW draws near, Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) has announced new psychology services to support the mental health and wellbeing of the affected communities.
“The devastation we saw in the Central West last year was heartbreaking,” said WNSW PHN Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Coe. “The communities of Eugowra, Parkes, Forbes, Molong and Canowindra were hit particularly hard, and that pain is still very raw today.”
Following a visit to the area and consultation with key community members, groups and organisations earlier this year, WNSW PHN saw the significant need for accessible psychology services for residents.
“WNSW PHN has commissioned face-to-face and virtual psychology services to be delivered to people living in the flood-affected communities,” said Mr Coe.
Funded by the NSW Government as part of the Central West Mental Health and Wellbeing Flood Recovery Package, the face-to-face services will be delivered by Forbes Medicine & Mind and Veritas House, and the virtual service delivered by Virtual Psychologist, to address the expected need within the community for psychological support.
These services are free, and no GP referral is required.
The new services epitomise WNSW PHN’s commitment to ensuring care for the long-term welfare of people in the region.
Courtney Hodges, Managing Director at Forbes Medicine and Mind says that they are thrilled to support their local community with access to psychological services “The hope is, that at the very least, we can provide people who are struggling with some support as our community continues recover from last years floods. It won't solve all the problems and there is still a great need for more funding to enable residents to get back on their feet, but we know that people are better placed to do that when we can improve their mental health and wellbeing.”
Virtual Psychologists’ CEO Dervla Loughnane added "Virtual Psychologist is delighted to offer innovative virtual mental health services that bridge the gap to rural wellbeing in NSW, reaching those who may find it difficult to talk or lack ready access to mental health services, providing accessible and effective support where it's needed most."
WNSW PHN are committed to supporting our communities at this difficult time and will continue to work improve the health outcomes of our people.