State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, will this week use Parliament to call on the NSW Government to do more in the mental health space as a result of COVID-19.
Ms Hornery will raise the concerns of her constituents after reports of mental health services being stretched to breaking point across the Hunter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put extra pressure on an already stressed and overwhelmed system with the number of youth suicides increasing at an alarming rate.
Ms Horney will move a number of Notices of Motion and ask Questions on Notice to the Minister about the increased demand for services and what the Government response to this will be.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, job losses, financial stress and relationship issues are all taking their toll on the mental health system,” said Ms Hornery.
“We are seeing reports from local providers like Lifeline and Headspace who are telling me that waiting lists for some psychology services have blown out to 10-12 weeks, many private practices have closed their books until next year as more people seek support to cope with a period of stress, uncertainty, and ongoing adjustment.
“We have seen a number of young people locally take their life in recent weeks and this has had a huge impact on young people across the electorate.
“I will be asking the Government to look at more funding for public and community counselling services, extending telehealth services and working with the Federal Government to increase the number of Medicare-supported psychology sessions.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase in mental health presentations but the public health funding for it has not.
“Let’s not forget that it was this Government that in 2014 shut down the Community Health Psychology Service.
“The Minister must commit more funding to mental health services in the Hunter,” Ms Hornery said.