- Mental Health Co-Response expanded to Bunbury and surrounds
- Mental health practitioners from WA Country Health Service to join South-West police officers on call outs where mental illness is identified as a contributing factor
- Joint initiative provides a coordinated response for people experiencing mental health crisis
Expansion of the Mental Health Co-Response (MHCR) into Bunbury is set to improve outcomes for people in the South-West living with mental illness.
The McGowan Government is rolling out this innovative program in partnership with WA Health, WA Police and the Mental Health Commission - part of a cross-government response to mental health challenges in the community.
The MHCR involves mental health practitioners from WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and police officers co-responding to calls seeking assistance, where mental illness is identified as a likely factor.
By providing specialist intervention and support, the initiative aims to provide a coordinated response for people experiencing mental health crisis, including self-harm, alcohol and other drug-related issues.
The program is designed to divert people experiencing mental health distress away from the criminal justice system and connect them with the mental health support services they require.
Response teams will be supported by Aboriginal mental health workers, to ensure Aboriginal communities have access to culturally informed support.
The MHCR will initially cover the township of Bunbury and immediate surrounds from the end of July 2022
Expansion of the program into the South-West region follows the successful roll out of MHCR in Geraldton in August 2021.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"The Mental Health Co-Response is an important step forward for South-West communities, providing a new approach to de-escalate situations where people are facing a mental health crisis.
"This program provides access to informed, culturally responsive and appropriate services that help people recover and manage their mental illness.
"Wherever possible we need to focus on people with mental illness getting the help they need in a community-based setting and avoiding unnecessary presentations to the emergency department and diverting them away from the criminal justice system.
"I'm pleased to further expand this program into our regions. The program has already been highly effective in Geraldton and the Perth metropolitan area."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"This program is about police and mental health practitioners joining forces to keep the entire community safe, in particular those members of the community who are experiencing mental health distress.
"Seven additional officers have been sent to the South-West region to assist with the rollout of the mental health co-response initiative. At least 20 will receive specialist training which will enable them to work side by side with mental health clinicians.
"This initiative has proven to be effective in the metro area and in the first regional site, Geraldton. It's good for the community, individuals, families and police.
"Having Aboriginal mental health workers as part of the co-response team will also ensure a culturally sensitive response to people in the community experiencing a mental health crisis."
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900
Police Minister's office - 6552 5600