Regional mental health campaign to address ‘shadow pandemic’

A community mental health services round table discussion was held in Mount Gambier last week as part of a campaign to establish an adult mental health facility in the region.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin hosted the meeting as part of his push to secure a Head to Health adult mental health facility for the Limestone Coast.

The Federal member was joined by 20 stakeholders from key mental health service providers and State and Local Government in the region to discuss what Mr Pasin refers to as the “shadow pandemic”.

“The lockdowns and other restrictions that have been put in place to protect us from serious injury or even death have given rise to widespread mental health impacts, a phenomenon that has become known as the ‘shadow pandemic’,” Mr Pasin said.

“The Federal Government has embarked on system wide reform to ensure Australia’s mental health system is more compassionate, accessible and affordable.”

As part of this reform an investment of $820m is earmarked to establish a national network of adult, child and youth mental health treatment centres across the country which will operate under a ‘no wrong door’ approach.

Mr Pasin said Head to Health Centres as they are known, are intended to complement, not replace or duplicate, mental health services already provided in the community.

“Approximately one in five Australians and nearly half of all adults will experience a mental or behavioural condition in their lifetime,” he said.

“I want to ensure that our region has the resources to help members of our community when they need it.

“This is why I’m advocating within government for a Head to Health facility for the Limestone Coast.”

Mr Pasin said recommendations on locations will be made through consultation with State Government and Primary Health Networks.

To support establishing a centre in the Limestone Coast, Liberal candidate for Mount Gambier Ben Hood has started a petition.

Mr Hood said his petition requests the Federal Government ensure that Mount Gambier, as South Australia’s second largest city, is chosen as one of the 24 Head to Health satellite centre sites.

“It is vital that regional centres like Mount Gambier have the best possible services for mental health,” he said.

“A Head to Health satellite centre in our region will ensure a welcoming, ‘no wrong door’ facility for people to get the information they need, when they need it.

“We have so many amazing volunteers, support people and organisations doing the important ground work for mental health and this centre will compliment them so that people will not ‘fall through the cracks’.

“Our hope is to be able to present 5000 signatures to the Federal Government and secure this vital service for Mount Gambier.”

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