Labor candidate for Parkes Jack Ayoub visited Dubbo Headspace last week because he feels mental health issues facing Dubbo and other regional towns are not getting the attention they deserve from the government.
Labor’s Assistant Minister for Mental Health Senator Deborah O’Neill and Mr Ayoub visited the Church Street facility to get a better understanding of what services like Headspace require from the federal government.
Mr Ayouib said the deep insights available to policy-makers at Dubbo Headspace are invaluable.
“When families are in strife, our community comes together and picks them right back up again”, Mr Ayoub said.
“During rough drought periods, the pressure on families can be soul-destroying. The effects can often be forgotten on the kids and young adults of our local community.
“Thanks to services like Headspace Dubbo, our community can identify these kids and get them the help they need right away.
“The message we heard today was one of hope. Our community has some deep-seeded problems, but they’re making significant inroads here in Church Street, Dubbo.”
Headspace Dubbo manager and credentialed mental health nurse Marijka Brennan said it was good that politicians took an interest in what Headspace does.
“We work hard and we’d always like to do more, but that is dependent on resources and capacity, so it was good for them to know what we do,” she said.
“What we do relies on the community because they play a part in raising awareness, reducing stigma and increasing the mental health literacy of young people.
“We discussed ways to attract suitably qualified staff to regional areas, strategies on how to retain those staff once we get them and how to get additional resources which is always beneficial.”
Senator O’Neill said the team at Dubbo Headspace gave her a sense of what a federal Labor government would need to do to address mental health issues in rural and regional Australia.
“I’d like first to offer my thanks to the hardworking care workers here at Dubbo Headspace”, Senator O’Neill said.
“The fantastic staff here are often the front-line to many of the problems facing this community - alcohol abuse, drug addiction and of course drought-affected financial stress.
“Taking the time to visit the team here gave Jack and I an excellent understanding of how a future Labor government might tackle the underlying issues facing this community.”
“One thing is for certain; the people here in Dubbo have the can-do attitude to pull this community through tough times.”