Orange residents have been urged to get active and enjoy our region as a way of fighting any mental health issues brought on by the COVID-19 restrictions.
Member for Orange Phil Donato said the coronavirus-caused lockdowns, closures of businesses and the uncertainty about people's jobs and incomes had created mental health concerns.
"The mental health factor is really important," he said.
It is soothing for the head and for the soul.Phil Donato, Member for Orange
"Anecdotally, there has been a significant increase in people suffering from mental anxiety as a result of the lockdown."
Mr Donato said the restrictions had led to people being stressed about their financial situation.
However, he said with the warmer weather in spring it was now a good time for people to get out and about and see the attractions the region had to offer.
Mr Donato has used a television and social media advertisement to invite locals to explore the region through staycations.
"There is so much on our doorstep to experience. And it will help support towns in our local region," he said.
Mr Donato said small towns including Millthorpe, Molong and Eugowra had plenty to offer.
He said physical activity was good for people's well-being.
"It is so important for your mental health. You don't need to go for a run or a bike ride but it is important to get out and about," he said.
"It is soothing for the head and for the soul."
While Mr Donato is aiming his focus at locals there has also been an increase in the number of people from Sydney, Canberra and Newcastle coming to the region to experience its attractions.
Orange360 says visitor numbers from outside the region have been strong in recent months with many people looking to the regions after they were unable to travel overseas.
Orange accommodation and tourism providers have strong bookings for the school holidays which start later this month.
"As long as they book and comply with the restrictions I don't particularly have an issue with that," Mr Donato said.
Earlier this year as part of concerns about mental health Mr Donato called on the state government to adopt a suicide register to help improve the response and intervention of suicide.
He said the suicide rate in regional and rural NSW was nearly double that in Sydney.
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