Hon Graham Jacobs MBBS FRACGP MLA

Hon Graham Jacobs MBBS FRACGP MLA

Former Minister for Water; Mental Health

    Wheatbelt mental health service - Northam clinic officially opened

    1/09/2010 12:00 AM

    Mental health services for Avon Valley residents have been significantly improved with today’s opening of the redeveloped Wheatbelt Mental Health Service’s Northam Clinic.


    Mental Health Minister Graham Jacobs, who opened the clinic today, said the new facilities had increased privacy, dignity and safety for all age groups.


    “From one location, the clinic delivers a wide range of services to children, adolescents, adults, specific programs for Aboriginal people and to the elderly,” Dr Jacobs said.


    “These services include assessment, treatment and case management of people with mental illness and support to carers and families.


    “One Aboriginal mental health professional is employed to assist with improving access for Aboriginal people.


    “Open day barbecues are run regularly in the Aboriginal communities where people can come along and ‘yarn’ about mental health. Cultural guidance and supervision is provided for other mental health staff facilitating safe cultural practice.


    “The multidisciplinary team works closely with general practitioners, hospitals and with non-government organisations and has a dual diagnosis program in partnership with Holyoake Wheatbelt Community Drug Service team.


    “Since the redevelopment, and as a first for rural Western Australia, the clinic has recently established a small specialist youth mental health team focusing on specific programs for Avon Valley Aboriginal youth, who have high-risk mental health problems.


    “By maintaining a prime main street location, the clinic is easily accessed and it presents as friendly, calming, bright and light. The additional therapy rooms have increased the communities’ access to mental health specialists.”


    “The redevelopment of the clinic, which has been operating since 2000, doubled the available floor space and concentrated on creating a purpose-designed therapy space for clients that also addressed the safety needs of staff.


    “Additional benefits of the new clinic include a child therapy area, a client group room, a family meeting room that doubles as a youth mental health room and separate waiting rooms for children and adults. It has provided capacity for service growth into the future.”


    The Minister said it was important that modern facilities exist in regional areas as well as in the city as each year one in five people experienced a mental health problem at any one time.


    “The State Government has a significant mental health reform agenda and had funded a State Suicide Prevention Strategy, a review of mental health services and the establishment of Australia’s first Mental Health Commission,” he said.


    “We are now seeking feedback from the community on the WA Mental Health Towards 2000: Consultation paper.


    “It is important that everyone is involved in building mentally healthy communities which is why it is important people give us their feedback.”


    Minister's office  - 9213 6900