Mental health a persistent problem in Gilmore after fires, floods and a pandemic

Psychological emergency services are a major concern for Gilmore’s fringe seat, following a cluster of suicides after the region was devastated by environmental disasters.

Voter and Youth Research volunteer Zane Condon (Image: Amber Schultz/Private Media)

Mental health support could be a vital issue in the marginal seat of Gilmore, south of Sydney, which was devastated by the Black Summer bushfires, COVID-19 isolation issues and recent flooding in the region.

More than 5,000 children and young people at risk of significant harm in the electorate, says CEO of peer-led youth trauma recovery organization Youth Insearch Stephen Lewin Oh dear. One in five children in Shoalhaven is affected by a mental illness and more than a third of self-injury emergencies involve people aged 15 to 24.

The seat is held with a 2.6% swing by Labour’s Fiona Phillips, who takes on Andrew Constance of the Liberals and Carmel McCallum of the Greens. Constance’s presence makes for an interesting election: As the Liberal member of Bega for the past 18 years, he held the NSW treasury and ministerial portfolios of transportation, but was disgraced during the Black Summer bushfires.

Learn about key electoral concerns among fringe voters.

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