Men­tal health cen­tre in doubt

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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