Health plan a ‘positive step’
Leading Pilbara Aboriginal health service Mawarnkarra has expressed in-principle support for a new State Government mental health plan, but are concerned whether it will meet the demands of the region.
The State Government last week announced the Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025, developed by the Mental Health Commission, the Department of Health and grassroots stakeholders.
The plan is based on the recommendations of the 2012 Stokes Review into mental health in WA and from regional community consultation, including Karratha and Roebourne, earlier this year.
WA’s Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton said the plan’s focus on regional areas recognised the importance of local mental health treatment and addressed mental health priorities flagged in forums.
Improvements slated for the Pilbara include expanding existing mental health, alcohol and drug services, adding 29 hospital beds and 22 community-based beds for mental health care, and increasing beds and treatment facilities for drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation.
Mawarnkarra’s business development officer Monique Wheatley said there was great demand for more mental health facilities in the region and the plan was a positive step forward.
“We support the focus (of the plan) on community-based prevention and care. This model is proving effective in primary health within our community and across Australia,” she said.
However, she said implementation of the plan needed to start as soon as possible and should extend further than the report currently prescribed to meet growing demand. She also said the rollout of the plan should be done through existing health organisations aware of local cultural sensitivities.
Pilbara-based Shadow Minister for Mental Health Stephen Dawson echoed Mawarnkarra’s comments, saying with no implementation date or funding allocated more commitment was needed.
Mrs Morton said she could not yet say where any of the planned mental health services would be located.