Phase 1b of the COVID vaccine rollout has begun
People in 'phase 1b' are now eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination.
Priority groups include over 70s, adults with a specified medical condition; some adults with disability and some 'critical and high risk workers'. You can see the full list here.
The Federal Government is directing people to a new website to find out if they're eligible and where they can book an appointment. The website has been plagued by technical issues and doctors have been inundated with appointment requests that they can't fulfill, because vaccine supplies are so limited.
If you're in phase 1b but you're having trouble booking an appointment - or you're worried that someone you know won't be able to use the website, please contact my office.
If you have any questions about the vaccine, I encourage you to talk to your GP. You can also call the the 24/7 National Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080.
If you’re worried about how you are going to make ends meet when JobKeeper ends and JobSeeker is cut this month, there are a lot of local services that can help. The following links provide information about food banks, financial counselling, crisis accommodation and bill help available in the local area.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
There are lots of options if you’re looking for mental health support that can help you navigate this stressful time.
Visit your GP: If you’re dealing with mental health issues and your GP thinks your need additional support, they can work with you to create a mental health care plan.
This might include a referral to an expert like a psychologist; the types of mental health care that can support you; and other strategies to improve and maintain your mental health. If you have a mental health care plan, Medicare will cover some or all of the cost of between 6 and 20 sessions with a mental health expert.
If you're aged 12-25, you can also visit a local Headspace Centre for help with mental health, general health, alcohol and other drug services as well as work support. Headspace Parramatta (2 Wentworth St, enter via Parkes St, Parramatta) is currently providing in-person and telehealth services. For more info, call 1300 737 616 or email [email protected].
Talk to someone on the phone/online
Lifeline: help if you’re in crisis (all ages).
- Call 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- Text 0477 13 11 14 (12:00pm-midnight, seven days a week)
- Web chat available 7:00pm-midnight
Kids Helpline: free counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
- Call 1800 55 1800 (24/7)
- Chat online (24/7)
Suicide Call Back Service: counselling and support if you’re in crisis (ages 15+)
- Call 1300 659 467 (24/7)
- Chat online (24/7)
1800RESPECT: support if you, or someone you know, is experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence (all ages).
- Call 1800 737 732 (24/7)
- Chat online (24/7)
QLife: LGBTQIA+ peer support and referral:
- Call 1800 184 527 (6:00-10:00pm, seven days a week)
- Chat online (3:00pm-midnight)
eheadspace: support for young people aged 12-25
- Chat online (9:00am to 1:00am, 7 days a week)
Find info online: there are lots of online resources that can help you improve and maintain your mental health. It’s important to remember that these resources will not be suitable for everyone, and are not a substitute for professional help. If you need urgent help, try one of the phone or chat services above.
- Black Dog Institute Online Clinic: takes you through clinical assessments for common mental health conditions. When you finish, it gives you a report with suggested support services and resources. You can download the report and share it with your family or doctor.
- myCompass: a free online self-help program for people with mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress. It can also help anyone build good mental health.
- ReachOut (for young people): this website features helpful articles on a range of mental health issues, links to tools and apps that can help you build good mental health, an anonymous discussion forum where you can share and ask questions, and a finder for mental health supports that might work for you.
Dine & Discover vouchers now available
People living in the Parramatta and Cumberland local government areas can now apply for 4 x $25 Dine & Discover vouchers.
The vouchers can be used at participating COVID safe businesses 7 days a week, except public holidays, until 30 June 2021. Click here for the full terms and to find out how to apply.
Fighting for better aged care for Parramatta
NDIS Independent Assessments
I've heard from many people with disability, their loved ones and carers who are concerned about the introduction of independent assessments to the NDIS.
Labor is opposing these changes. If you're concerned about independent assessments, I encourage you to write to the Minister for the NDIS, Linda Reynolds at: [email protected]
Please get in touch if you're concerned about, or you've been directly affected by any of the issues I talked about today - or any other federal issues.