The Byron Shire Action Group is one of the groups standing a candidate for mayor standing candidates for of course, positions in the council. Generally speaking, the Byron Shire Action Group released today uh, as we speak right now, it's Mental Health Support and Kindness Policy to raise awareness of the increasing need for urgent, uh, and additional actions due to the unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the current lockdown of Byron Shire. As a committee member of the Byron Community Centre, mayoral candidate, Bruce Clarke has seen firsthand the impact on residents' mental health and the increased need for resilience. And he joins me now from probably just around the corner, Bruce Clarke good morning. How you doing?
Good thanks Nick. Lovely to speak to you.
Great to speak to you too. One of your men who we know who we're talking about and one of our own presenters here Jimmy James Wright, who's been working for you a little bit said to me, you're releasing this, uh, program today, this proposed policy, uh, I was very excited I thought it's kind of absolutely perfect. So it's really wonderful to talk to you about this. Now, as I just said then you're a committee member of the, and community center and many other things, and, um, you have seen firsthand, so let's go there first because, you've had that firsthand experience as a committee member there of, uh, the, the mental health issues. Give us a bit of a sketch of what you've seen here and why this came about this, uh, this Mental Health Support and Kndness Policy.
Well, look, mental health has been a major issue developing over many, many years. I think we've all been touched by it. I'm told even by the local police, that domestic violence and mental health issues are the two main issues facing this community from their point of view. About two years ago as a committee member and the first of the the lockdowns, arising from COVID I was very involved in developing a strategy to raise donations so that we were able to put on a additional staff member to help deal with those issues. We all know the levels of homelessness some of which is due to our massive accommodation shortage, but a lot of it is to do with mental health issues, people who have not been able to cope.
And we see it daily, we are overwhelmed in any of the community organizations, Byron Community Centre being the biggest. With the impacts and the inability to find support for people, whether the lack of the women's refuge or men's shelters, or a whole range of issues. And for that reason, Nick, we, we thought that the big problem is we do have limited resources. Many people don't know where to go. And so some of the issues that we are trying to raise is to provide support. If we are successful in getting onto council, we've worked much more closely with the community services. We'd provide a telephone service, directing people to the available services.
Many people who are in difficulties may be able to deal with, uh, a phone number, but they don't have the resources to go onto the internet and so on. So that's one of the points. But another thing that really troubles me is that of course this isn't just a local issue and it's not exclusively COVID.
I have a niece who got the university medal in Environmental Sciences, who has now two young children and suffers an anxiety attack whenever she sees issues about the impacts of climate change. We saw on the weekend that lots of young men in their thirties, they're having vasectomies because they just don't want to have the risk of bringing a child into this very troubled world.
And just yesterday, it was reported that people in regional New South Wales there's been a 75% increase of people seeking mental health support. So we've got to do something, even with our limited resources as a council, we've got to be able to provide some kind of services. And we'd thought to outline some things that a council, which doesn't have a lot of resources doesn't have a lot of money can actually do.
Yes and you've got a great list and that will be obviously published. We won't go through all of those today, but I'd love to focus on a couple of them in the time we have. I'm very interested in the, uh, the youth part of your proposal, youth mental health challenges through the creation of careers for them in the Shire, uh, not just jobs. Can you talk about the innovation hub what you're talking about as part of this programme.