People with a mental illness in Perth’s southern suburbs will have better access to vital psychiatric rehabilitation services, with the opening of a new centre at Bentley Hospital.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said the $2.3million John Milne Centre would give people with a mental illness the support and rehabilitation services they needed to move back into the community as quickly as possible and regain their independence.
“This adult inpatient rehabilitation unit will allow people with mental illnesses to access services that will vastly improve their quality of life,” Mr McGinty said.
“Severe and enduring mental illness has a huge impact, limiting people’s activity, restricting their participation in the community and, in some cases, causing repeated readmission to acute mental health facilities and hospital emergency departments.
“This new psychiatric rehabilitation centre will provide rehabilitation and recovery services to help patients who need extra support to live independently and thrive in the community.
“The unit will have the added benefit of freeing up hospital beds, which can now be used to treat patients who require hospital care.
“Every rehabilitation patient will be given a tailored program to help them to manage their illness and teach them practical life skills such as self-care, housekeeping, financial management and job search training.
“The first eight beds will open this week, taking the total number of mental health inpatient beds in WA to 704.
“The centre will be staffed by 14 nursing staff, two occupational therapists, one occupational therapy assistant, one senior social worker, one welfare officer and two psychiatric staff.
“The centre also has capacity for an additional 10 beds which can be opened when more mental health staff are available.”
The Minister said the centre was part of the State Government’s WA Mental Health Strategy, which had seen an additional $507milllion invested in mental health services since 2004 (on top of the existing mental health budget).
“One of the key aims of the WA Mental Health Strategy is to address the need for home-style accommodation for people with a mental illness,” he said.
“Under the strategy, 400 new supported accommodation places in the community are being developed. This represents a 30 per cent increase in the current number of places and an expansion of the range of accommodation options available.”
The first set of community supported residential units to be built in the metropolitan area are due to be completed in Bentley in July.
These self-contained units promote independent living and reduce social isolation for people who are unable to live on their own. More units are under construction in Bunbury and Osborne Park, with planning continuing for units in Middle Swan, Kalamunda, Peel and Armadale. Residents have already moved into units in Albany, Geraldton and Busselton.
A range of homes for people with higher support needs are also being developed. The first of the community options homes will open in Kelmscott in June and homes in Mt Claremont and Osborne Park will be completed later this year. Planning approval is pending for homes in Bentley.
Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt said he was pleased the new facility would offer an important rehabilitation service for people with a mental illness in the southern suburbs.
“One in five Australians will experience a mental health problem at some time in their lives,” Mr Wyatt said.
“The John Milne Centre will complement the work of existing mental health services in the southern suburbs, including acute inpatient admission, supported accommodation options and community-based rehabilitation programs.”
The centre was named in honour of Dr John Milne, the first Psychiatric Superintendent of Bentley Clinic from 1976 to 1995.
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