SILENCE: Several psychologists and psychiatrists in Ceduna and Kalgoorlie have chosen not to comment on the mental health effects of the CDC.
SILENCE: Several psychologists and psychiatrists in Ceduna and Kalgoorlie have chosen not to comment on the mental health effects of the CDC. FILE

Two weeks in and just 250 people on controversial card

MORE than 250 people across Bundaberg and Hervey Bay have now received their Cashless Debit Card, a sign the rollout of the card has well and truly begun.

Local anti-cashless card activists are sticking by their guns, showing concern for the mental health of those placed on the card.

One activist group, The Say NO Seven claimed in a Facebook post to its nearly 3000 followers the CDC trials resulted in "multiple suicides and over 474 cases of self injury”.

Speaking in Bundaberg on Tuesday, a Department of Social Services spokeswoman said support services would roll out as required, saying unlike other trial sites where services were provided but not utilised.

The NewsMail yesterday put questions to DSS asking when additional support services would be available to people in the Rum City.

"Additional support services will be determined following feedback from key stakeholders and monitoring the impact of the Cashless Debit Card on services already available in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region,” the spokesperson said.

When asked who key stakeholders were and how monitoring would work, no response was provided.

To understand the potential psychological effects the CDC may have had on people in previous rollout areas, the NewsMail contacted a number of psychiatrists, counsellors and psychologists across Kalgoorlie and Ceduna.

No professionals were willing to give comment, with one Kalgoorlie psychologist saying they doubted any other professionals in the area would want to comment.The Australian Council of Social Service on its website states it believes the card "significantly restricts people's freedoms without a sufficient evidence base to show that it works or is justified”. ACOSS suggests the card should be voluntary, with "supports such as drug and alcohol, mental health (and) financial counselling...”.

St Vincent de Paul Society said the card could cause problems "including social exclusion and stigmatisation, increased financial hardship, and the erosion of individual autonomy and dignity”.

The DSS website states if they became aware a participant's wellbeing was at "serious risk”, they'd be referred to a Centrelink social worker, and the DSS would decide whether to exempt the participant.

Participants are urged to call the CDC hotline on 1800 252 604 if the card is affecting their mental, wellbeing.

Lifeline: 13 11 14



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