Mental health support gets boost

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SOUTHLANDERS are set to benefit from Government funding which will ensure better access to mental health and wellbeing support in the region.

The Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), had granted Invercargill’s Loss and Grief Centre with funds recently to assist those with mental distress or illness to get through Covid-19.

Centre director Caroline Loo said $17,040 was applied for – all of which was successfully obtained.

“These funds will be used to provide counselling sessions for Southlanders.

“That will be approximately 20 sessions per week that will be funded.”

The funding would be for a three-month period and would also help support other marginalised communities, including the elderly or the rurally isolated, she said.

Loss and Grief Centre director Caroline Loo. Photo: File

“What we are hoping is that Southlanders will contribute a koha and pay-it-forward so that after this funding is used, we will still be able to provide counselling for Southlanders at a heavily reduced rate, which is what we do at present.”

Ms Loo said centre staff were “thrilled” to have been chosen and “very excited” to start a partnership with the MoH and MHF.

The centre’s formal counselling service had been running for one year with the support of “numerous” qualified and experienced counsellors.

“Counselling is just a term that’s used to describe a meeting with someone who’s got skills and experience in a certain area to support you to problem solve things that can help you move forward and make change within your own life.”

She acknowledged Covid-19 had been a challenging time for everyone to live through.

“I personally believe that everybody benefits from being able to talk through the challenges that they are facing in life.

“Having these funds for our counselling service will provide more opportunities for more people to do exactly that.”

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