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June 21, 2024 5:40 PM

Mind your mind

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BY DI SNEDDON

Not surprisingly, Covid-19 resulted in a spike in people seeking mental health support across Australia and Muswellbrook and Singleton did not defy the trend.

In fact, 50 percent of patients who walk through the doors of Ungooroo Health Service are seeking some form of mental health support which is why recent funding from BHP Vital Resources Fund is so timely.

The fund has provided $70,000 to employ a psychologist three days a week to serve the Muswellbrook and Singleton communities.

Registered Nurse Brooke Turner said Covid brought on a significant increase in requests from people seeking mental health support, especially from the region’s teenagers.

“They were really reaching out for support, I think it was particularly difficult for these young people with the closure of schools.

“We have kids with really serious issues and they need to be addressed, we had an increase in phone calls from young people reaching out for help, feeling really isolated without the social support and structure of school.

Ungooroo CEO Taysha Layer added that the Aboriginal culture is yarning and she emphasised the importance of the face-to-face service of a psychologist.

While 95 per cent of Ungooroo’s client base is indigenous, the service is open to anyone in the community and the new psychologist service will be bulk billed.

Mt Arthur Coal General Manager Adam Lancey acknowledged the importance of supporting local front-line medical organisation, Ungooroo GP & Health Services to help meet the increasing demand on their mental health services across Muswellbrook and Singleton Shires as a direct result of COVID-19.

“Through BHP’s Vital Resources Fund, we have been able to provide funding to increase the number of days a Psychologist is available to provide counselling support for local residents either face-to-face or virtually, at a time they need it the most,” said Mr Lancey.

The funding was provided through BHP’s newly established Vital Resources Fund, which was established to support regional Australian communities facing significant challenges as a result of COVID-19.

*This story was published on Friday, June 19 2020.

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