Mental Health Minister Graham Jacobs will announce new State Government investments into the mental health of young people this afternoon at the re-opening of the Bentley Mental Health Families at Work (FAW) unit following a $100,000 refurbishment.
Dr Jacobs said one in four young West Australians would experience a mental health problem each year.
“In Australia, mental health issues account for 55 per cent of all ill health in those aged 15-24 years, with depression, anxiety and substance misuse being the most prevalent problems in this age group,” he said.
“It is important that young people and their families can access the support and treatment they need as mental illness, even if relatively brief and mild, can seriously derail a young person’s potential, especially their education.”
The FAW program is a State-wide service providing mental health treatment for young people aged eight to 13 years with social, emotional or behavioural problems.
The Minister said an upgrade to the unit and redevelopment of the program meant both residential and day care services could be offered.
Executive director of the South Metropolitan Area Health Service, Mental Health, Dr Elizabeth Moore, said the service provided young people with specialised mental health care during a difficult time in their lives.
“As there is a classroom attached to the FAW unit, an important opportunity exists for young people to attend school while they are on the program,” Dr Moore said.
“Young people will be able to attend the program during the day and go home to their families at night, which is an additional option that was previously unavailable.”
The FAW Program is offered in conjunction with the Department of Education’s Hospital School Services.
A further $337,000 has been provided by the Mental Health Commission for refurbishment of the Bentley Adolescent Unit (BAU), improved staff training and an increased focus on discharge planning.
“The BAU is WA’s only authorised child and adolescent inpatient mental health facility,” Dr Jacobs said.
“The unit was built 14 years ago and this investment will make it more contemporary and bring improvements for patients, their families and staff.
“This funding will also enable 25 child and adolescent mental health service staff to participate in a one-day training program conducted by Professor Patrick McGorry’s Orygen Youth Health organisation.
“The BAU will be working with the Mental Health Commission to customise support services to better meet the individual needs of young people as they leave the unit.”
The Minister said his aim was to ensure that these young people could reconnect with their families and communities on their pathway to recovery.
“This is an important step in developing improved recovery co-ordination for young people with mental health problems and is a practical example of the State Government's commitment to a more individualised approach to providing mental health services,” he said.
“Today is also part of Mental Health Week, which runs from October 10-16.
“Mental Health Week plays an important role in community education about mental health and illness.
“This year’s theme is ‘Being mentally healthy is about choices’.
"As a Government, we have also made important choices to reform mental health services.
“We are shifting the focus of our mental health system away from illness and acute intervention towards wellness, early intervention and personal recovery.”
Minister's office - 9213 6900