McLeish calls for support for mental health program
The State Government must continue to support the Kinglake Neighbourhood House program ‘Be well in the Ranges’ to allow those at the mental health program to continue important work.
Speaking in parliament, State Liberal Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish questioned why further government support had not already been provided to ensure the program remains open.
Ms McLeish said, “‘Be well in the Ranges’ has accommodated a need in the community far greater than originally anticipated. Surely the government would continue support for such a successful program.”
Since 2019, the program has filled a gap in the Kinglake Ranges community by providing mental health support through the provision of free counselling, psychological support and music therapy to fire affected communities via the Neighbourhood house.
Dealing with the long-term impact of the Black Saturday Bushfires and triggers by the more recent fires, many residents have turned to this service to deal with anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief and loss.
Ms McLeish continues, “Since COVID-19 there has been an influx of patients, 30 per cent of which are under the age of 25. It is clear that this service is a great support for young people as well as other members of the community.”
“Kinglake is currently without a medical practitioner and the next closest mental health service specific for young people is in Greensborough.”
“Without ongoing funding, the program would be forced to close, leaving many people without help,” Ms McLeish concludes.
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Coordinator, Vicky Mann said, “Where we sit regionally, it is so important to have mental health assistance available and easily accessible for locals.”
“The demand for ‘Be well in the Ranges’ is rapidly increasing. The region can’t afford to lose the only mental health program we have.”
“Locals, especially the younger generations, need to know consistent support is there for them and not going anywhere.”
Under Parliamentary guidelines the Minister has 30 days to respond to Ms McLeish’s request.