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The Nationals WA candidate for Kalgoorlie Tony Crook has launched a petition calling on the State Government to provide funding, as previously promised, towards a step-up, step-down mental health facility in the Goldfields.
Mr Crook said the mental health situation in the Goldfields was becoming dire.
“Off the back of a recent spate of suicides in the region, including another suicide just last week, it has become a very desperate situation for the region,” Mr Crook said.
“I’m calling on the State Government to honour the commitment made in June 2015 to provide a step-up, step-down facility to complement the mental health unit at the Kalgoorlie Health Campus.”
Mr Crook said the facility would assist Goldfields residents to transition back to life in the community after their discharge from acute care in hospital.
“A facility could also assist residents to access short-term residential care to help manage mental health issues where admission to hospital is not necessary.”
Mr Crook said the handing down of the 2016-17 State Budget had seen the previously promised consolidated revenue for the project withdrawn.
“It’s a bit like groundhog day in Kalgoorlie. There was so much relief in the community when the funding was announced, and now we feel like we’re back at square one.”
Mr Crook said the lack a step-up, step-down facility meant much of the good work done by the mental health unit was not able to progress once patients left the hospital.
“Having a transitional facility is a really important step in helping to manage mental health issues. You wouldn’t have an Emergency Department without a general hospital.”
Mr Crook stressed that while it would be beneficial, a step-up, step-down facility would not be a “catch-all” solution to mental health issues in the region.
“Government needs to stop putting mental health in the too-hard basket and commit to really providing ongoing staff, services and support so we can work with those suffering from mental health issues.”
The petition can be signed in the office of Wendy Duncan MLA, Member for Kalgoorlie. Mr Crook said he would also be asking various businesses around town to support the petition.