Pe­ti­tion to move $9.7m re­hab fa­cil­ity

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A push has be­gun for the new State Gov­ern­ment to re­con­sider the lo­ca­tion of a men­tal health step-up, step-down fa­cil­ity in Kar­ratha.

The $9.7 mil­lion build­ing — which will pro­vide short-term res­i­den­tial sup­port for peo­ple af­ter hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion for men­tal ill­ness or those at risk of de­te­ri­o­rat­ing men­tal health and pos­si­ble hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion — was ex­pected to be opened by 2018.

The pro­posed site across the road from the Kar­ratha RSL Club was cho­sen by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment last year but drew con­cern about its prox­im­ity to Mil­lars Well Pri­mary School and li­censed venues on the same street.

Kar­ratha and Dis­tricts RSL Club pres­i­dent Julie Pope said whichever site was cho­sen had to work for the fa­cil­ity, res­i­dents and sur­round­ing busi­ness.

“It’s dif­fi­cult enough to have any kind of men­tal health is­sue or ill­ness . . . but to put them in a po­si­tion where they are clearly not go­ing to be wel­comed is re­ally hard,” she said. “These guys need to be in a place where they feel com­fort­able, re­laxed and where they can re­cu­per­ate.

“We have build­ings in town not be­ing used which could be re­fur­bished, that could save a lot of money. There’s the block across the road from the new hospi­tal in Pegs Creek, that would be per­fect.”

On a trip to Kar­ratha last year to an­nounce the fa­cil­ity, for­mer men­tal health min­is­ter An­drea Mitchell told the Pil­bara News she did not be­lieve nearby li­censed venues would be an is­sue.

“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,” she said.

She said fa­cil­ity users needed to be strength­ened to deal with all en­vi­ron­ments as “life is like that”.

Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive Nanette Wil­liams raised con­cerns about the lack of sup­port net­works around the Mil­lars Well site.

A change.org pe­ti­tion has been cre­ated and will be pre­sented to Pil­bara MLA Kevin Michel and the City of Kar­ratha.

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