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Mental, emotional and relational needs of rural people ignored in the Federal Budget

Tuesday 21st of June 2005

Rural people who struggle mentally, emotionally and relationally with the impact of the ongoing drought did not receive any support from the 2005/06 Federal Budget, says Rev. Brian Kirk, Executive Director of the Anglican Counselling Service in the Anglican Diocese of Armidale.


With all of the New England and North West of NSW either drought declared or experiencing marginal drought conditions, the Anglican Counselling Service has received increased requests for assistance from rural families for help with depression, relationship conflict and relationship breakdown.


The Anglican Counselling Service has been able to provide “free personal and relationship drought counselling and education” for children, adults, couples and families up to this month as a result of previous funding from the Federal Government. This “free” service is no longer available as funding is expended and the Federal Government appears to have not made any provision for further vital assistance in the 2005/06 financial year.


In the last 9 months counsellors from the Service conducted 314 sessions or 469 hours of counselling and facilitated workshops on Suicide, Self-Awareness, Depression and Anger Management to assist and build the capacity of rural communities.


Without this assistance, many people on the land would not have sought help. A farming couple sought help with relationship conflict and family conflict from our counsellors. As the couple worked on their conflict, the primary aged children stopped bedwetting, the marriage relationship improved, and the wife overcame a potential alcohol problem. Today, they have new skills and hope. This story is indicative of 95% of this Service’s clients who show improvement in their personal and relationship functioning.


This funding omission and lack of support from the Federal Government is indicative of the inequitable funding for family and relationship counselling and life skills education services for the New England and North West of NSW. Despite three years of lobbying and submissions by the Anglican Counselling Service, the Federal Government continues to turn a deaf ear to rural needs forcing non-profit organizations such as this Service to operate on shoe-string budgets and reduce essential relationship services to rural areas.


For More Information Contact:

Anglican Counselling Service (Diocese of Armidale)
PO Box 3052 Tamworth 2340
Tel: (02) 6762 4380
FAX: (02) 6762 5740
Internet: acsdarm@acsdarm.org.au


Authorised: Rev Brian Kirk, Executive Director

21 June, 2005

Phone contact: (02) 6762 4380

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