Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor has urged those struggling to reach out for help at a mental health roundtable meeting with members of the community in Orange on Friday.
Suicide rates across NSW and in the Central West fell in 2020, but the roundtable identified better communication is needed to ensure people know how to find help.
The roundtable, hosted by Orange Mayor Reg Kidd and attended by around 40 health professionals, politicians, police and support workers, agreed having all stakeholders in the room together was a huge success.
"The Orange region is fortunate to have a range of health professionals, agencies, NGOs and government departments which are already doing very important work in this field," Cr Reg Kidd said.
"They have agreed to work together to help more people in the community find these services."
We want people reaching out for help before it's too late.Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor
The Minister highlighted that suicide numbers dropped across the state in 2020 and in the central west there were 10 per cent fewer deaths.
"What we have seen is more people reaching out to services such as lifeline and the NSW Mental Health Line and that's exactly what we want to happen. We want people reaching out for help before it's too late," Mrs Taylor said.
The mental health experts attending agreed there are services available, but the public doesn't know about them.
A strong theme at the roundtable was the need to boost training for regular people in the community on mental health first aid and suicide prevention.
"We were told about the need to train up shop owners, teachers, students, sporting groups, anyone who interacts with a large cross section of the community, as an extra safeguard," Mrs Taylor said.
NGOs agreed that they needed to ensure they are clearer in explaining what they do so those searching for the help don't feel overwhelmed in their pursuit for assistance. The government is about to employ co-ordinators across the state to ensure all the services are working together.
"These 12 collaboratives combined with 100 school nurses coming on board means there will be better communication," Mrs Taylor said.
The roundtable was also told an extra 180 mental health clinicians were employed last year; 13 are in the Central West.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below ...