Mental health Drought

Funding needed for rural outreach worker

22 August 2018

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has made an impassioned plea for funding for local rural outreach worker Ivan Lister.

With seasonal conditions worsening, Ms Ryan told Parliament that Mr Lister’s role needed to be funded full time.

“Ivan has had saved many lives over the 15 years he has worked across our region,” Ms Ryan said.

“He helps people during some of the toughest moments of their life: after floods, droughts and bushfires he’s there. He’s helped people through marriage breakdowns, financial troubles, depression and anxiety.

“As things get tougher, Ivan’s caseload is getting bigger. It is so frustrating that we go through this constant fight to piece together funding for his role, when his work has been lauded by so many people over the years.”

Ms Ryan said Benalla Council recognised the value of Ivan’s work two years ago when his role with Honeysuckle Health in Violet Town came to an end.

“Benalla Council have tried to pick up the slack from the state and federal governments, paying Ivan to work two days a week, but the reality is he works seven days a week,” Ms Ryan said.

The call comes as a new documentary featuring Mr Lister premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival this month.

Mr Lister is one of five men featured the film Happy Sad Man directed by Genevieve Bailey. The film has been described as a clarion call on mental health.

“I put Gen in touch with Ivan a few years ago because she wanted to make sure that the experiences of men living in rural Australia was part of Happy Sad Man.

“Her film shows Mr Lister’s work as he talks to the producers at the Euroa saleyards and visits Euroa men’s shed,” Ms Ryan said.

Last month Ms Ryan wrote again to Mental Health Minister Martin Foley requesting ongoing funding for Ivan’s work.

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