A supplementary question put forward to the Hon. G.E. GAGO regarding mental health services in country regions.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have a supplementary question. Can the minister comment on whether there has been an increase in demand for mental health services in country regions?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO: We have placed a lot of extra services into country areas, and we know that these services are being utilised. They are extra services and they are being utilised well, so that indicates that people are using more services. As I mentioned, we have the hotline number that has now been further extended, and this not only provides practical farming management and financial information but also has a mental health referral system attached. I understand that includes a direct line to a counsellor who can assist with the matter there and then or, if need be, that counsellor can refer the person to local mental health services.
In addition, and as I have said, this is the second or third reprint of the book that has been (I understand) applauded and well-used by rural communities and other services. Yes, the increased services that we are providing to country areas are being utilised, and the feedback is that they are greatly appreciated and that they are provided in a timely and fitting way.