Mental health support for asylum seekers in regional Victoria

Not-for-profit organisation Cabrini Outreach will expand its specialist mental health services to regional Victoria in response to increasing need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not-for-profit organisation Cabrini Outreach will expand its specialist mental health services to regional Victoria in response to increasing need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In partnership with local support agencies and GP clinics, Cabrini Outreach will expand its services to people seeking asylum and temporary visa holders in Mildura and Shepparton.

Funding received as part of the Victorian Government’s Keeping Victorians Connected and Supported – Mental Health and Wellbeing Coronavirus Response Package will allow referrals for psycho-social support, psychiatric care and consultation to commence immediately.

Medical Director of Mental Health at Cabrini Outreach, Dr Tram Nguyen, said the introduction of Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, in addition to the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases, had added new layers of fear and uncertainty among the community. She said this had resulted in an increased risk of destitution for people seeking asylum and people on temporary visas.

“COVID-19, the pandemic and the measures to control it, have come at a cost to everyone, especially in terms of their mental health,” Dr Nguyen said.

“Access to mental health care should be universal. It shouldn’t depend on your visa status or your postcode. That’s why we applaud this initiative from the Victorian Government.”

Cabrini Outreach has been acutely aware of the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people seeking asylum. Without access to a financial support safety net, job losses and increasing restrictions have had serious impacts on the people we work with.

“After many years of uncertainty, separation from family members and restrictive visa conditions, this pandemic is adding to the devastation experienced by people seeking asylum,” Dr Nguyen said.

“Communities in regional Victoria are no exception.”

The expansion of Cabrini’s specialist mental health services to support people seeking asylum and some eligible temporary visa holders in Mildura and Shepparton will commence immediately.

Image Credit: The Carbini Outreach Foundation

Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.

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