Community consultation would begin on plans to build a six-bed subacute mental health facility on a preferred site in Davidson Street, South Kalgoorlie, Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said today.
Mrs Morton said the subacute service, expected to be operational in 2017, would give local people access to contemporary therapeutic mental health care in a home-like setting, as an alternative to hospital admission.
"The State Government has prioritised the expansion of community-based mental health services, and will have 60 community subacute mental health beds available across Western Australia by 2017," she said.
"The Government is committed to opening step-up, step-down services in Kalgoorlie-Boulder as a priority. Once complete, the Goldfields service will add to the six-bed subacute service planned for Broome, the 10-bed facility now being built in Rockingham, and the Government's $28 million investment to develop a 10-bed service in Bunbury and a six-bed service in Karratha."
Subacute facilities provide short-term residential care to help people manage their mental health where admission to hospital is not necessary, and also help people transition back to life in the community after discharge from acute care in hospital.
The State's first 22-bed subacute service, which opened in Joondalup in May 2013, has steadily increased occupancy to 81 per cent, providing more than 428 admissions in lieu of hospitalisation.
"This reflects the community need and preference for these types of innovative mental health services that offer flexible, recovery-focused care, closer to home and to family and friends who can offer support," the Minister said.
"This model of care helps build better community understanding and, by offering an effective alternative to going to hospital, removes much of the trauma, stigma and cost that can result from acute episodes of mental illness."
Mrs Morton said the Government was working in close partnership with the Department of Housing and the Mental Health Commission to deliver both the Goldfields facility and other subacute projects across the State.
"Now we have identified a preferred location for the Goldfields facility, we will undertake consultation to ensure we have feedback from the local community," she said.
The design for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder subacute facility is expected to be finalised by late 2015, with construction starting in the first half of 2016.
In WA in 2013-14, a mental health bed in a hospital cost $1,234 on average each day and $453 in a community subacute centre
Almost half (43 per cent) of people in hospital for mental health problems in WA could be discharged if more community services were available, a 2009 study reported
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder facility is estimated to cost $3 million to build and will receive $1.3 million operational funding per annum
Minister's office - 6552 6900