Sophie Cotsis, Member for Canterbury, has hosted a “Multicultural Mental Health Roundtable” with Shadow Minister for Mental Health, The Hon. Tara Moriarty MLC.
Together they met with key organisations that provide mental health services, and other stakeholders, to discuss the challenges in mental health and the impact of COVID-19.
One study conducted by the Black Dog Institute and University of New South Wales, found 78 percent of respondents reported their mental health had worsened since the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, 64 percent of respondents experienced elevated depression, anxiety and stress levels.
“Mental health has always been an important issue, however, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on our community’s mental health, particularly for residents from multicultural backgrounds where mental health is a taboo topic,” Ms Cotsis says.
Key findings of the roundtable include:
- 20 psychologist sessions, up from 10 before the pandemic, that are subsidised by Medicare need to remain as a permanent number.
- More funding needed for mental health workers, particularly case workers.
- More funding is required to employ bi-lingual workers for those from CALD communities.
- Online mental health services have neglected the elderly who may have difficulties with technology.
- Need for greater focus on enhancing the capabilities of existing community organisations to provide greater services.
Ms Cotsis stressed: “Many mental health service providers receive no funding or support from Government. Demand for these services are severely greater than the resources allocated to our community to help with mental health.”
Sydney Women’s Counselling Centre highlighted they have had to reject 212 people from their services due to a lack of funding and resources to assist local residents in their time of need.
Ms Cotsis added: “I want to thank our community organisations for sharing their experiences and highlighting systemic issues due to lack of funding from State and Federal Governments.”
“Thank you to The Hon. Tara Moriarty for chairing the meeting and listening to the concerns of our multicultural communities.”
Organisations that participated in the roundtable include:
- Greek Orthodox Community.
- Settlement Services International.
- Chinese Australian Services Society.
- Greek Welfare Centre.
- Lebanese Muslim Association.
- Muslim Care.
- Sydney Women’s Counselling Centre.
- Metro Assist.
- Candalepas Psychologist.
- Kogarah Community Services.
- City of Canterbury Bankstown Council.