INDEPENDENT candidate for Nicholls Andrew Bock has big plans to tackle the mental health crisis in the region.
If elected, Mr Bock will increase the number of Medicare-subsidised psychologist visits back up to 18 per year.
With a long-term view of building that number to 26.
He has also pledged to fund mental health first aid (MHFA) training courses across the electorate.
“An MP earns at least $200,000 per year; I don’t need all that,’’ he said.
‘‘So if the government won’t come to the party on MHFA in our region, I’ll pay for it myself.”
The issue of mental health is a personal one for Mr Bock, as he has watched his family members battle depression, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar disorder, as well as autism.
“Some of my family have had a really rough time over the years,’’ he said.
“Obviously, I wish it were different for them. However, being able to learn from their experiences has meant I’ve been better able to empathise with, and help other people.”
Mr Bock spent seven years working for the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) answering police emergency calls.
“While it wasn’t strictly speaking in my job description, there were quite a few times where I found myself negotiating with people to step away from the edge or to put down the weapon.’’
After leaving this role, Mr Bock undertook MHFA training and used those principles to create connectGMR.com.au which provides information about who to call in a mental health crisis.
If you need assistance, please call Lifeline on 131114.