- First regional WA Mental Health Co-Response Team commences
- Mental health clinicians to join police on call outs
- Diverting those experiencing a mental health crisis away from the justice system
The first regionally based Mental Health Co-Response Team will commence operation in Geraldton next week.
The Mental Health Co-Response is a joint partnership between the WA Police Force, Mental Health Commission and Health Department as part of the McGowan Government's cross-government response to mental health challenges in the community.
It involves police officers and mental health clinicians co-responding to calls seeking assistance, where mental illness is identified as a likely factor.
The MHCR aims to divert people experiencing mental health distress away from the criminal justice system and connect them with the mental health support services they require.
Mobile response teams currently cover Perth's southern, eastern, northern and south-eastern suburbs.
From Wednesday next week, a mobile response team will commence operation in Geraldton.
The Geraldton team will also be supported by Aboriginal mental health workers.
Last year, the WA Police Force recorded 32,666 mental health related tasks.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The Mental Health Co-Response is an important step forward for Mid-West communities, providing a new approach to de-escalate situations where people are facing a mental health crisis.
"With one in five Australians affected by a mental health illness each year, access to informed, culturally responsive and appropriate services that help people recover and manage their mental illness is essential.
"Having an Aboriginal mental health worker as an integral part of each team is vital to ensuring our Aboriginal communities have access to culturally informed and secure support.
"Wherever possible we need to focus on people with mental illness getting the help they need in a community-based setting where possible, and avoiding unnecessary presentations to the emergency department or diverting away from the criminal justice system."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"I'm pleased we've been able to expand the Mental Health Co-Response to provide coverage in the Mid-West.
"It involves our police working side by side with mental health practitioners to provide an appropriate response for people experiencing mental health distress.
"This initiative has proven to be an effective and timely response to families and provided much needed support to our police when dealing with these sometimes difficult situations.
"The addition of Aboriginal mental health workers will also ensure a culturally sensitive response to people in the community experiencing a mental health crisis."
Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson:
"People experiencing a mental health crisis often need specialist intervention and support, so this partnership between WA Police, WA Health and the Mental Health Commission is a fantastic step towards ensuring some of the State's most vulnerable people get the help they need.
"This award-winning program has been highly effective in the metropolitan area, and I'm really pleased it's being rolled out in our regions.
"We know that early intervention from experienced mental health workers can not only assist people to remain in their own homes but also help divert patients away from hospital and the criminal justice system.
"The expansion of this multi-agency taskforce will help stop people from falling through the gaps and ensure the respectful treatment of our mental health patients."
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Police Minister's office - 6552 5600
Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 5800