Mental health centre in doubt
Concerns have been raised about the location of a long-awaited step-up, step-down mental health facility announced for Karratha, but detractors have noted similar plans which never came to fruition in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
The $9.7 million building providing short-term residential support for people after hospitalisation for mental illness, or those at risk of deteriorating mental health and possible hospitalisation is expected to be opened by 2018 in Millars Well.
It would be across the road from the Econo Lodge, which is applying for a hotel restricted licence, and a few blocks from the Millars Well Primary School.
Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said she did not believe the lodge would cause any problems and those using it needed to be strengthened to deal with all environments because “life is like that”.
“Step-up, step-down services promote recovery and independence by reducing the risk of trauma and stigma that can sometimes result from time spent in hospital due to mental health issues,” she said.
“We are very much focusing on making sure there is a range of services people can access, whether it is right here in town or it can be done going through other avenues such as technology or visiting services.”
Pilbara Community Legal Service chief executive Nanette Williams said the location did not seem ideal and she would not be surprised if concerns were raised about its proximity to a school and lack of easy access to support services in the city centre.
“I don’t know whether the Government has thought closely about the support networks-around the facility for the people who will be using it,” she said. “I am more inclined to look at money being put in to preventing, keeping people away, rather than treating but we have got to the point where we have to put money into treating.”
Mrs Williams’ comments were echoed by Shadow Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson.
“The Goldfields community was also promised a similar centre by this Government, an announcement was made that land had been secured and the centre was to be built, only for the Government to do a backflip on the decision,” he said.