The State Government’s $48million commitment to create more community-based accommodation and support for people with a mental illness has taken a step forward with the opening of the first of the new metropolitan homes.
Premier Alan Carpenter said the $1.4million homes in Kelmscott were an important part of the $608million Mental Health Strategy to boost care in WA.
“These new homes will give eight people with a mental illness the opportunity for a better quality of life, but they are just part of the wider strategy to develop more than 400 extra community-based accommodation places,” Mr Carpenter said.
“The idea is to give people who often have very few options in where they live the chance to live in home-like, small-scale clusters of residential units, with the support they require to become part of the community.
“The people that will use these homes may be living at home with ageing parents, in a hospital or other types of institutions or on the street.
“Similar homes, catering for different levels of care needs, will open in Bentley, Mount Claremont, Osborne Park and Bunbury this year with other homes being planned. Residents have already moved into homes in Geraldton, Albany and Busselton.
“In particular, these new Kelmscott homes have been developed to provide people with a mental illness, who require a relatively intensive level of support, an alternative to living in an institution.
“Many of the new residents have been living in a hospital ward, not because they required that very high level of care, but simply because they had nowhere else to go.
“The new homes will finally give them a chance to live in the community, in a residential setting.”
Health Minister Jim McGinty said residents would receive around-the-clock support from operator the Richmond Fellowship of WA, an experienced not-for-profit, non-Government organisation.
“Staff will support residents with daily living skills and encourage them to participate in community activities and recreation,” Mr McGinty said.
“Residents will also receive support from clinical rehabilitation teams from the South Metropolitan Area Mental Health Service.”
The homes are similar in appearance to duplexes and have been purposely designed to complement existing homes in the area.
“One in five Australians will suffer from a mental illness at some time in their lives,” Mr Carpenter said.
“Approximately one in 40 will be affected by a severe ongoing mental illness.
“When people with a mental illness are provided with appropriate support and accommodation, not only does their mental health improve - meaning fewer hospital stays - but their physical health, community involvement and independence also improves.”
Armadale MLA Alannah MacTiernan said the homes heralded a new era in mental health accommodation in WA.
“This will dramatically improve the quality of life for people with a mental illness by providing comfortable home-style accommodation and the support they need to live a full and active life in the community,” Ms MacTiernan said.
Richmond Fellowship WA chief executive officer Joe Calleja said the organisation was excited by its involvement in the new program.
“Richmond Fellowship believes that people can and do recover from mental illness and we welcome the opportunity to assist residents to settle into the community,” Mr Calleja said.
“We will be focusing on helping them to regain their lives by developing daily living skills such as cooking, finances and cleaning, as well as participating in social and recreational activities.”
Since 2004, the $608million Mental Health Strategy has provided additional funding, on top of the annual mental health budget, to improve services and create more community-based accommodation and support for people with a mental illness.
The State Government has also provided $38.2million worth of land for mental health accommodation.
Premier’s office - 9222 9475
Health Minister’s office - 9422 3000