NSCA Foundation

Free regional workers mental health SMS service extended

Friday, 26 June, 2020

Free regional workers mental health SMS service extended

Three million workers in New South Wales’s (NSW) rural and regional areas will benefit from additional funding for a free SMS mental health counselling service, the state’s Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, announced in April. The ‘VirtualPsychologist’ service forms part of SafeWork NSW’s Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018–22 and is designed to assist workers in regional areas living with mental illness and distress.

“We know that those living and working in our regional areas have been through tough times over the last few years and an easily accessible mental health service like this can make a huge positive difference,” Anderson said. “Mental health issues are taking their toll on our regional communities as a result of the traumatic loss of property, livestock and human lives, and the burden of recovery has been made harder as economic and social impacts of COVID-19 start to be felt.”

More than 1100 text counselling sessions have been provided since the service began in October 2018. “With this increased funding we’ve been able to extend this free, 24/7 service for an additional 12 months to ensure those workers who need this service can continue to access it,” Anderson said. The Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018–22 is a NSW Government initiative that provides resources and mental health skills training to 90,000 micro, small and medium-sized businesses across the state.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/HQUALITY

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