The serious lack of school psychologists available to Wagga students is being highlighted by a passionate group of local women pushing for serious change.
The Country Women's Association (CWA) is hosting its 95th annual Riverina Group Conference tomorrow, with up to 100 local women getting together to discuss major changes they believe the women's group should be lobbying for across the state.
The Wagga Wagga Evening Branch will be filing a motion for the CWA to officially request the Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell appoint more school counsellors, including psychologists, to schools across NSW.
Data released by the NSW Department of Education earlier this year showed not a single Wagga primary school had access to a full-time school counsellor.
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Branch president Kay Thomas said this is a serious oversight and one she believes is a detriment to the mental health of young people across Wagga.
"One of our members had a granddaughter who needed some help and when that child's parents approached the school they were told she'd have to be on a month-long waiting list," Mrs Thomas said.
"That added to the child's distress and anxiety at the time, so we did a little bit of investigation and discovered the ratio of counsellors to enrolled students is quite small and there are really not enough."
Mrs Thomas said this is an issue she believes is probably even worse in more rural and remote areas and the mental health impact of COVID-19 meant it was crucial that it be addressed.
"Having more counsellors available would be a huge assistance," she said.
"During this year already we've had a number of young people take their own lives and we don't know the backstory of those situations but I believe if there was more support at counsellor-level then we would have better outcomes."
Mrs Thomas and her fellow branch members will put forward the motion at the conference, where members of 16 CWA groups from across the Riverina will have a chance to discuss it and vote on whether or not it gets sent through to state level.
If the vote is successful the motion will be brought up at the CWA state conference set to be held in Sydney next year and if it approved then, it will become part of the association's policy.
The Oura branch will also file a motion for the mandatory use of parking lights or low beam headlights by all vehicles during daylight hours.
The Uranquinty Evening branch will be filing a motion for all caravan owners and drivers to be tested and licensed by NSW Road regulations.
The conference will begin at 9:30 at the RSL Club in Wagga on Wednesday, all attendees must be double-vaccinated.
If you or someone you know needs help contact;
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
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