HOUS­ING KEY FOR HEALTH

Geraldton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - Ge­off Vivian

Find­ing ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing for Ger­ald­ton peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues is dif­fi­cult, ac­cord­ing to key agen­cies.

WA As­so­ci­a­tion for Men­tal Health chief ex­ec­u­tive Taryn Har­vey said 27 per cent of men­tal health in­pa­tients had no clin­i­cal rea­son to be in hospi­tal.

“They are there be­cause they don’t have hous­ing and sup­port to be dis­charged to,” she said.

“The Govern­ment’s own pol­icy says the big­gest gap in men­tal health in­vest­ment is in com­mu­nity sup­port.

“That’s why we are run­ning the Pre­vent Sup­port Plan cam­paign this State Elec­tion, to get the Govern­ment to com­mit to ful­fill­ing its own pol­icy for a bal­anced men­tal health sys­tem.”

Ms Har­vey wel­comed the WA Govern­ment’s an­nounced stepup step-down fa­cil­ity for Ger­ald­ton, but said it was for peo­ple who al­ready had safe and sta­ble places to live.

“The Govern­ment must in­crease in­vest­ment into the non-clin­i­cal and non-acute com­mu­nity sup­ports to bal­ance the sys­tem so there are sup­ports for peo­ple af­ter they leave hospi­tal or step-up step-down fa­cil­ity,” she said.

“With­out these sup­ports many peo­ple keep hav­ing to re­turn to those acute ser­vices be­cause their needs aren’t be­ing met to keep them well in their homes and in the com­mu­nity.”

Ali­son Hil­ton man­ages the com­mu­nity men­tal health ser­vice Fu­sion in Ger­ald­ton.

“In Ger­ald­ton we have very good men­tal health ser­vices and we work well to­gether but be­cause there is this lack of ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing that be­comes quite an is­sue,” she said.

“If you don’t have a sta­ble home ev­ery­thing else is that much harder.”

Last week WA Hous­ing Min­is­ter Peter Tinley promised “sig­nif­i­cant” pub­lic hous­ing de­vel­op­ment for Ger­ald­ton.

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