A new mental health campaign has launched promoting free, mental health programs for residents in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region.

The programs, funded by the Darling Downs and West Moreton through the Australian Government’s Primary Health Network (PHN) Program, offer short-term support to people aged 18 and over who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression. These programs are accessible face-to-face, over the phone, online and/or through group sessions. Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN Chief Executive Officer Merrilyn Strohfeldt said the campaign acknowledges everyone needs a little extra support from time to time. “We want people in our community to know that they are not alone and that there is support available,” said Merrilyn. “The benefit of our low intensity programs is that these services are free, available to anyone in the community and can be accessed remotely either online or by telephone, which is especially important for people living in our rural and regional communities.”

One of the programs highlighted in the campaign, NewAccess, offers early intervention mental health support providing people with the skills to identify and manage issues causing distress so they do not hit psychological crises down the track. The mental health coaching program, developed by Beyondblue, pairs people with a trained coach who works with them more than six private sessions in person, by phone or video conference – whichever option is most suitable – to develop tailored recovery plans for their individual needs.

Beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said mental health support wasn’t always easy to access, especially for people living in rural areas and on low incomes. “It takes immense courage for people to put their hand up and ask for support, so we need to make that next step easier for them and ensure they get the support they need,” said Georgie. “NewAccess is free and easy to use, so it appeals to people who may otherwise be reluctant to seek support, such as men, older people and people in remote areas.”

Anyone can self-refer into the programs with no diagnosis or Mental Health Treatment Plan needed.

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