Federal budget adds $1.5 million to expand Stay Afloat program across Australia

After a positive pilot program trial across three cities, the Federal Government has allocated $1.5 million to fund a two-year national roll out of the Stay Afloat mental health program across Australia.

The funds will be used to set up 50 ‘wellbeing hubs’ in fishing communities across the country as a way to support commercial fishers, seafood workers and their regional communities.

Stay Afloat Program manager, Jo Marshall said the team was looking forward to building on the success of the pilot trial to provide critical and much needed support to commercial fishing industry members.

“Research has shown Australia’s commercial fishers experience twice the base-rate of psychological stress than the general population, and this is not okay. We’ve run a successful pilot of the Stay Afloat program, and provided life-altering support.

“This pilot program has been specially developed to help break the stigma associated with poor mental health within industry, connect industry members with existing services and supports, and provide education to primary health networks regarding the seafood industry’s operations and unique stressors, including reforms and the implications of natural disasters,” Jo said.

Seafood Industry Australia is now working through the contracting process with the Department of Health and will provide more details on the timeline and program roll out early in 2023.

“We are excited at the prospect of expanding our ‘Trusted Advocates in Communities’ programs, ‘Mental Health Training and Education’ and ‘Community Resilience’ events throughout WA,” Jo added.

Members who would like to know more, or get involved should contact Jo Marshall on either [email protected] or 0408 008 344.

You can read more about Stay Afloat here.