OPENING DOORS: Centacare Bundaberg counselling team leader Shari Jackson, corporate service manager Robert Sims and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett are grateful for the $700,000 funding from the State Government. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
OPENING DOORS: Centacare Bundaberg counselling team leader Shari Jackson, corporate service manager Robert Sims and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett are grateful for the $700,000 funding from the State Government. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Flood-hit get $700k boost

ONE year on from the 2013 disaster, some flood-affected people living in the Bundaberg and North Burnett region continue to struggle with loss, depression and anxiety.

But mental health received a boost yesterday, with Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett announcing $700,000 in funding to Centacare Bundaberg to provide a free personalised support service within the community.

"The purpose of the Community Recovery service is to support communities impacted by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and associated flooding in the Bundaberg and North Burnett area," he said.

"Funding has been provided for this service under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA)."

Centacare Bundaberg corporate services manager Roberts Sims said although the program would be based in Bundaberg it would also focus on surrounding towns.

"It provides clients with a range of services from community education to learn about mental health first aid, as well as personal support for those that need more intensive care," he said.

"It is an outreach program focussing on work around the regions."

Centacare has two main streams of services in Bundaberg.

The first is counselling and social services that it provides in schools and outreach programs in Gin Gin and other locations.

The second is the Home and Community Care services it provides to about 800 clients in the Wide Bay region to help people stay in their homes longer.

Centacare Bundaberg counselling team leader Shari Jackson said the Community Recovery program was designed to build mental health literacy" across the community.

"Initially after the floods we worked with clients around crisis response stuff," she said.

"A lot of the other stuff including depression and anxiety didn't hit till three or four months later.

"Then there are relationship breakdowns because of the depression and anxiety."

Ms Jackson said the Community Recovery program would include two case workers providing case management for clients, a senior co-ordinator to provide counselling and oversee the program and a mental first-aid course that would be held four times a year.

"We know that there are still people in the community that are not getting the support they need," she said.

"I suppose the key thing is that it is a free program so it will not create an access issue."

North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh welcomed the news.

"It is very pleasing to see a service like this extend beyond the big city and into the smaller communities," he said.

For more information contact Centacare on 1300 523 985.
 



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