Member for Kiama Gareth Ward MP has today announced that more young people in Kiama will learn how to recognise mental health problems and reach out for support if they or their peers need it, thanks to $8,000 funding from the New South Wales Government.

Mr Ward make the announcement during his visit to Kiama High School with Principal Catherine Glover and representatives from the Rotary Club of Kiama including President Lloyd Chatfield and Mal Bracken.

“This funding will enable the next stage of Kiama Rotary Club’s Mental Health Intervention Project to be run at Kiama High School,” he said.

“It is terrific to see education and the support available for mental health issues being taught to our local Kiama High School students.

“Kiama Rotary Club runs Mental Health First Aid Certificate courses free of charge to local residents and teachers and will now expand to deliver Teen Mental Health courses for students at Kiama High School.

“Establishing more support for young people with mental health problems has been a consistent theme these past couple of years during my Student Leaders Forum which I host annually in NSW Parliament House.

“Early interventions initiatives like this project are a vital part of helping young people who may be experiencing mental health problems,” Mr Ward said.

Principal Catherine Glover and School Councillor Nathan Vickery of Kiama High School have thrown their full support behind the initiative.

Principal Catherine Glover said: “We are very appreciative of this funding which will allow Kiama High School to continue its proactive approach to empowering our students. Nathan Vickery, a school counsellor, has been trained as an instructor to deliver Mental Health First Aid to staff in our Wellbeing Team and all Year 8 and 10 students,” she said.

“It is a key component in our Wellbeing Program and provides evidence-based education which gives young people the skills to identify and respond to risks.

“We have enjoyed working in partnership with the Rotary Club of Kiama to maintain a strong focus in promoting mental health,” Ms Glover said.

The NSW Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies MP said:

“I commend the Rotary Club for its devotion and commitment to promoting mental health awareness for young people in the Kiama community and I thank Gareth Ward for his strong advocacy on behalf of his community,” Mrs Davies said.

In 2018-19, the NSW Government will invest a record $2.1 billion in Statewide mental health services.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

For local mental health services in the Illawarra phone the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.