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Media Statements : Statement Details

Hon Helen Morton MLC

    Mental health care for Aboriginal people in Perth

    Tuesday, 15 January 2013
    • New service to support Aboriginal people in metropolitan area
    • Culturally safe and appropriate mental health care offered

    The metropolitan-based Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service (SAMHS) has a new home after a $380,000 refurbishment of De Grey House at Graylands Hospital.


    Incorporating the former Aboriginal Psychiatric Service and the Specialist Indigenous Mental Health Service and run by North Metropolitan Health Service Mental Health, SAMHS Metropolitan is already improving access to mainstream mental health services for Aboriginal people in the Perth metropolitan area.


    With 26 metropolitan staff, services reach to Clarkson in the north; Rockingham and Mandurah in the south; and east to Armadale and Swan with 120 current clients and 150 others who have been helped and no longer require assistance.


    Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the successful $22million State-wide SAMHS program employed Aboriginal mental health workers to engage indigenous people into mainstream services, which had been running in rural and regional areas for two years.


    “SAMHS Metropolitan offers Aboriginal people who want to work in mental health a genuine career pathway, as Aboriginal mental health workers often understand cultural, historical, family and societal issues, which is important for providing holistic care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with mental illness,” Mrs Morton said.


    “Where cultural considerations and traditional beliefs are of particular relevance to the recovery of Aboriginal clients and of support to their carers, SAMHS Metropolitan can seek input from Traditional Healers and Elders.


    “The new SAMHS Metropolitan is a step in the right direction in closing the gap in the delivery of Aboriginal mental health care and enhancing the cultural security and integrity of mental health services provided to Aboriginal people across Western Australia.”


    Fact File

    • The Liberal National Government is improving community support and mental health clinical services for Aboriginal people with the implementation of a $22.47million State-wide specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service
    • In rural areas, WACHS has 32 FTE which are currently at 86 per cent occupancy with the majority of positions being held by Aboriginal people

    Minister’s office - 6552 6900

    SSAMHS 018.JPG

     Acting Executive Director for North Metro Health Service Mental Health Patrick Marwick, Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton and Michael Mitchell, Program Manager, Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service Metropolitan unveil the plaque for the new service