Funding to help refugees heal trauma and persecution

·1-min read
Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS

Refugees in Australia will have access to culturally-specific mental health programs to heal the psychological scars of trauma and persecution.

The Albanese government is providing $136 million over four years to deliver the nationwide program through eight rehabilitation agencies.

The government-led Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma provides counselling, advocacy and referrals to health and other services.

The program provides more than 9000 individual and family counselling sessions each year.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the funding injection would help ensure Australia's settlement support services were "the best in the world".

Mr Giles said everyone's journey to Australia was different, and the flexibility of the service allowed the program to meet the needs of refugees regardless of where they lived or how long they had been in the country.

The funding includes resources to help specialist services deliver culturally appropriate care, activities to build a trauma-informed workforce as well as continued support for community engagement.

A recent Australian Institute of Family Studies report found refugees had higher rates of mental ill health than the general population.

However, the rate of refugees seeking help was low, due to factors including access and awareness.

Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Emma McBride said the funding would help people cope with trauma so they could rebuild their lives.

"All Australians deserve access to mental health and wellbeing supports tailored to their needs," she said.

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