Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Boost for mental health services in Western Australia

The Australian Government is funding a range of mental health programs in Western Australia to tackle high levels of mental illness and suicide in many remote Indigenous communities.

Nationally, the Australian Government will provide $15.4 million through the National Respite Development Fund. Of this, $5.3million has been allocated to Western Australia and includes establishing and expanding respite services for carers of people with severe mental illness, psychiatric disability, or intellectual disability.

In Western Australia, Frontier Services will work in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions through the Pilbara Mobile Mental Health Program and local service providers and carers.

Centre-based respite will be offered as well as a mobile service to meet the needs of the carers of people with mental illness and intellectual disability in the Kimberley.

The measure recognises the important and valuable role of carers in supporting people with mental illnesses and the need to give them a break from the pressure of round the clock care-giving.

In Kununurra, respite care will be provided for patients who are in the town before their transfer to major centres for treatment or on their return from treatment.

The rollout of services in the Kimberley will be implemented in three stages including:

  • community consultation with Indigenous people and communities
  • establishment of services and training of staff
  • the delivery of respite services

The Australian Government is also working with State and Territory Governments to establish new personal helper and mentor services. This service supports people suffering severe mental illnesses with practical assistance including help to manage their daily activities and access to the services they need. Broome and West Kimberley, including Fitzroy Crossing, have been identified as areas of need.