Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Mental health patients need support from local councils

    10/01/2006 1:00 AM

    The State Government has warned that mental health patients will suffer unless local councils support plans for new accommodation facilities throughout Western Australia.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said that under the Government’s $173million Mental Health Strategy, facilities for an extra 420 community beds and 113 inpatient beds were to be constructed for mental health patients across the State.

    “It is vital that local councils get behind projects to provide community accommodation for people with a mental illness,” Mr McGinty said.

    “It is estimated one in five adults will have a mental health problem at some stage in their lifetime and between 10 and 15 per cent of young people will suffer from a mental illness in any one year.

    “While many people recover quickly, some need ongoing help to recover and reintegrate back into the community and it is essential we have proper facilities to care for them.”

    The Minister said he was disappointed that the Town of Vincent had recently withdrawn its approval for the $1million redevelopment of a former aged care home in Mount Hawthorn into a 20-bed ‘step-down’ facility for mental health patients.

    “Hawthorn House is designed to provide a homelike environment for adults with mental health problems who do not require acute hospital care,” he said.

    “It will house people recovering from mental health conditions such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but patients with a history of violence or drug and alcohol abuse will not be eligible to stay.

    “The facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help people manage their illness before returning to live independently in the community.”

    Mr McGinty said there had been significant community consultation on the project, which had led to plans for additional fencing, designated outdoor smoking areas and the implementation of curfews.

    The Minister said Hawthorn House would only be used for mental health patients until a new facility was built on the Joondalup Health Campus within three years.

    He said the State Government was building a range of accommodation facilities for people with mental health problems throughout the State including ‘step-down’ facilities, staffed cluster-style homes, group homes and self-contained residential units.

    Minister's office: 9220 5000