Community resilience grants to help commercial fishers Stay Afloat

8 February 2021

Applications are now open for Community Resilience Grants of up to $2000, as part of the Stay Afloat program to support and improve the mental health of those in the seafood industry. 

There are 35 grants available thanks to the Morrison Government’s $600,000 election commitment for Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) to deliver the first industry-specific mental health support program. 

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said it was an important time to focus on the mental health of Australia’s commercial fishers. 

“We know that a range of factors have led to poor levels of mental health among Australia’s commercial fishers, and that’s why we committed $600,000 of funding to the cause at the last Federal Election to help those in the industry,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“Now, members of the seafood community can apply for grants to plan an event to bring the seafood industry together, raise awareness about mental health and provide support and tools to improve the wellbeing of commercial fishers.

“We’ve already seen industry-nominated Trusted Advocates hit the ground running as part of the program in focus communities across the country to ensure our hardworking fishers have access to the help they need.

“The last 12 months have been challenging for our hardworking commercial fishers, and now is the time to support the mental health and wellbeing of those in this resilient, but high-pressure, industry.”

SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said the program had been developed to break the stigma associated with poor mental health within the industry.

“Research has shown Australia’s commercial fishers experience twice the base-rate of psychological stress than the general population, and this is not okay,” Ms Papacosta said. 

“This pilot program has been specially developed to help break the stigma associated with poor mental health within industry, and we thank the government for their support.” 

SIA’s Stay Afloat Australia program manager Jo Marshall said the event grants were an important part of the overall program.

“Talking about mental health isn’t always the easiest conversation to have, but it’s an important conversation to have,” Ms Marshall said. 

“These grants have been structured to support events that raise awareness of mental health stressors, early warning signs, and how to start conversations with loved ones; whilst building a robust network of support within the commercial seafood industry itself, along with friends, families and the local community.”

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