Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Liberal News

More facilities and reform for mental health

Liberal Statement

Two new step-up, step-down facilities will be built in regional Western Australia to support people with mental illness under the Liberal Government’s mental health plan.

Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton said $6.2million would be allocated to build and a further $2.8million per year to operate, two new step-up step-down facilities in Bunbury and Karratha.

“These facilities will provide 24/7 support for people with mental illness either at risk of hospitalisation or to support their transition back into the community after acute care,” Mrs Morton said.

“Work has already begun on four step-up step-down facilities in Western Australia with the first opened in Joondalup in January this year. Three more are planned for Rockingham, Broome and the Goldfields.

“This regional focus will mean those in need do not have to travel to Perth, and will be properly supported to manage their transition in their own communities.”

Mrs Morton said never before had a Government been so focused on mental health, which had received an unprecedented funding increase of 39.2 per cent, and continue to put the needs of people with mental illness and their families first.

“We will make sure the right community-based services are available to support people with mental illness before they hit rock bottom,” she said.

“Importantly, there will be a real focus on assisting young people to address these issues early.”

As part of the reform into mental health, the Liberals will establish Western Australia’s first Early Psychosis Youth Centre (EPYC) for up to 600 young people each year by intervening early in the development of psychosis and mental illness.

Eight beds will also be allocated at the New Children’s Hospital to help children and adolescents with eating disorders. A further $57.2million for 155 school health nurses will assist young people experiencing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and body weight issues.

Mrs Morton said the Drug Court Diversion program would be expanded to include alcohol issues for a pilot in the metropolitan area, while the Mental Health Court Diversion pilots in both the adult and Perth Children’s Court will commence under a Liberal Government.

A Liberal Government will also provide recurrent funding of $500,000 to Lifeline each year for crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health services.

“The Liberal-led Government established Australia’s first Mental Health Commission, and introduced the Mental Health Green Bill to State Parliament which enshrines in legislation the rights of every person with mental illness in WA and recognises the roles of their families,” Mrs Morton said.

“This mental health plan will build on those achievements which are making a real difference in addressing the social and economic impact of mental health and alcohol and other drug problems in Western Australia."

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