29 June 2020
A program which enables young people to have a confidential chat with a nurse at school has been so successful in helping students in the Monaro that it has been expanded to other regions thanks to a $4.2 million boost from the NSW Government.

Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor said Wellbeing and Health In-Reach Nurses (WHIN’s) worked in partnership with other school staff, and assisted families in navigating local health and wellbeing services.

“These wonderful, supportive nurses are working in the schools - and with the schools - to ensure students and their families do not slip through the cracks.”

“This means a young person can approach a friendly clinician and get private, on-thespot help from a specialist, whatever their health and wellbeing issue may be.”

When social distancing measures came into effect due to COVID-19, the program wasable to adapt and continue to provide support easily, said Mrs. Taylor.

“Being able to quickly switch to telehealth ensured our clinicians could check in asusual with students and their families and provide help even when schools closed.”

Cooma nurse Nicola Rabbitte is based at Monaro High and provides outreach to Cooma Public and Cooma North Public. She says that the program is a great conduit for getting young people all manner of help, from basic welfare right through to mental
and physical health supports.

“I meet with students and assist them to access whatever they need in the community to help with their wellbeing. This could be many different things - from quitting smoking to getting out of trouble with school, making a GP appointment, getting a Medicare
card or even applying for some funding to get new glasses or school uniforms.”

“They can come and have a chat about life, and timeout from a classroom”, she said.

The WHIN program is a joint initiative of NSW Health and the Department of Education which began as a pilot in 2018. The program began in 2018 in Cooma, Tumut and Young and was recently expanded to include Deniliquin, Lithgow and Murwillumbah.
Current as at: Monday 10 August 2020