[singlepic id=396 w=320 h=240 float=left] Indigenous men on the Cassowary Coast will have access to much-needed counselling and support services with the appointment of mental health counsellor based in Tully.

Minister for Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt said the State Government would fund the role through the Mamu Health Service.

Mr Pitt is visiting Innisfail later today to join in 21st birthday celebrations for Mamu Health Service.

“This appointment marks a significant expansion of mental health services on the Cassowary Coast,” he said.

“The new counsellor will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in the region with much-needed counselling and support services.

“Based in Tully, the counsellor will also provide outreach services to Innisfail, Cardwell and other small communities in the Cassowary Coast region.”

Mr Pitt said following Tropical Cyclone Yasi there was a clear need for a specific Indigenous family support and counselling service located on the Cassowary Coast.

“A considerable number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were severely impacted by Yasi, and many people still need support,” he said,

”While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more inclined to access support services, local men have been reluctant to do so because of a lack of culturally appropriate services.

“That’s set to change with the appointment of this new Tully-based counsellor.

“This will ensure the Mamu Health Service can continue to provide counselling and support services to at risk individuals experiencing social, financial or emotional difficulties.”

Mr Pitt said the need for stronger mental health services was identified as a top priority at the 11th Ministerial Indigenous Roundtable in Wujal Wujal this week.

“The Bligh Government is committed to closing the gap in health, education, housing, life expectancy – and also in the area of mental health,” he said.

“That’s why this week we announced a mental health “first aid” training initiative to support Indigenous Queenslanders as they recover from last summer’s natural disasters.

“And that’s why we’re expanding mental health services here on the Cassowary Coast to ensure local residents are getting the support they need.”