Those experiencing a mental health crisis or dealing with suicidal thoughts will now be able to access support through a "Safe Haven" in Wagga.
Located at 7 Yathong Street and open from 2pm to 9pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the newly-opened haven is home to a number of mental health professionals in a homely, non-clinical environment.
Peer worker Lauren Demaj said the space gives those suffering an opportunity to speak with people, like herself, who have a lived experience with mental illness.
"It's important that they can talk to somebody that understands what they're going through because they can relate and build that rapport and [won't feel] like they're judged in this space," she said.
Ms Demaj said that people often experience anxiety when presenting to the emergency department during a mental crisis, making relaxing, homely spaces such as the Safe Haven vital.
"Taking that one step here, we know how hard that can be but we're here to support anybody that comes to the Safe Haven and you're not alone, because we have experienced it too and we want anybody and everybody to know that it's okay to reach out," Ms Demaj added.
People of any age can drop-in to the Haven for assistance, however those under 16 will need consent from a parent or guardian.
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Towards Zero Suicides coordinator Richard Parks said the Haven has been around 15 months in the making, and is part of a broader state plan to reduce overall suicide rates by 20 per cent by 2030.
Wagga's Safe Haven is currently in the trial phase, and Mr Parks said "the intention is to expand as required".
Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr visited the site on Friday and said it's fantastic for the region, considering the rate of suicide in rural communities in particular.
"I hope it will mean that more people who are thinking of taking their own lives stop and know there are places to turn," he added.
Please call triple zero in an emergency or, for mental health support, contact: Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Murrumbidgee AccessLine on 1800 800 944.
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