Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Mental Health iT Matters

WA Labor announces its 10-point plan for State's mental health system

Labor Statement

A McGowan Labor Government will make reforming the State's mental health system a priority and ensure people with mental illness receive the support and services they need, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said today.

Mr McGowan said WA Labor has a 10-point plan to tackle some of the key problems, including the practical step of providing 50 extra community liaison officers and building a $95million mental health facility at Joondalup Health Campus.

"Our State's mental health system is failing some of our most vulnerable people," Mr McGowan said.

"Rates of suicide in rural and remote Western Australia are the highest in the nation after rural Northern Territory.

"The most recent ABS figures show 310 Western Australians took their lives in 2010, an increase on previous years.

"The Liberal-National Government has prioritised inner-city projects at the expense of the mental health services, facilities and support that people in our community desperately need.

"It has failed to fulfill all of its mental health promises made at the last election, most obviously its suicide prevention strategy.

"WA Labor has developed a 10-point plan to tackle the crisis in our mental health system."

A McGowan Labor Government will:

1. Employ 50 extra mental health community liaison officers over four years to help prevent suicides;

2. Build a $95million mental health facility at Joondalup Health Campus with 100 mental health beds;

3. Build a 10-bed mental health facility in Port Hedland;

4. Increase the mental health services at Newman Hospital;

5. Allocate $6million to build supported accommodation for people with mental illness;

6. Build a declared place at Graylands Hospital with separated adult and juvenile sections;

7. Introduce a full Mental Health Bill into Parliament;

8. Review the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996;

9. Make the Office of Chief Psychiatrist independent of department influence; and

10. Provide $200,000 to support the Mental Health Law Centre WA.

"Professor Bryant Stokes, in his recent review into Western Australia's public mental health practices, found that our mental health system is not working and too many patients are falling through the cracks," he said.

"Among his recommendations was increasing the number of community support workers and increasing the number of beds for mental health patients.

"WA Labor will make it a priority to reform our mental health system, ensuring people with mental illness receive the support and services they need."

Member for Joondalup Tony O'Gorman said the new 100-bed mental health facility at Joondalup Health Campus would include a 20-bed mental health facility for youths living in the northern suburbs.

"WA Labor recognises the crisis in mental health and the immediate need for action to improve mental health services in Western Australia," Mr O'Gorman said.

"Joondalup Health Campus has the busiest Emergency Department in the State, but staff are forced to transfer more than 1000 emergency patients each year to hospitals 30 kilometres away because the hospital doesn't have all the services the community needs.

"Despite the growing pressures on health services in the northern corridor, Colin Barnett decided to halt plans for the Joondalup Health Campus to operate as a fully-fledged tertiary facility.

"The original Western Australian Clinical Services Framework 2005-2015 recommended Joondalup Health Campus be developed as a tertiary hospital by 2016.

"This is why WA Labor will also grow Joondalup Health Campus into a tertiary hospital.

"Mr Barnett has the wrong priorities and is focused on inner city projects such as Elizabeth Quay, while our health services groan under the pressure of increased demand.

"Only the election of a McGowan Labor Government will ensure the problems in Western Australia's mental health system are addressed."

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