Youth mental health service announced for the South West

WA mental health minister Helen Morton announced $1.8 million for regional youth mental health services today. Picture by Emma Young.
WA mental health minister Helen Morton announced $1.8 million for regional youth mental health services today. Picture by Emma Young.

POTENTIALLY life-saving mental health services are set to be provided to young people across the South West as part of a $1.8 million funding announcement by the state government today.

Making the announcement in Bunbury at the opening of the Rural and Remote Mental Health Conference, mental health minister Helen Morton said the money would fund specialist mental health teams to work with young people with mental illness in the South West and the Pilbara.

“The Targeted Youth Mental Health Initiative will help young people at the critical age when emerging mental illness can be prevented from becoming more serious,” the Minister said.

“This new service will look and feel different to other services and will help young people to get well, stay well and reach their full potential.”

A specific timeframe for the service has not been confirmed, but Mrs Morton said the development of multi-disciplinary teams, including consultant psychiatrists, will start shortly. 

About three-quarters of all severe mental illness starts before the age of 24 and suicide accounts for nearly a quarter of all deaths in the 20-24 age group.

Mrs Morton said the new service would be nimble and responsive.

"It will have legs; it will go into workplaces, hospitals, homes, training centres, schools or wherever it needs to in order to respond to young people in need," she said.

"There will be a clearly outlined way to provide the care and services a young person needs, regardless of how they first come to us.

"No matter where a young person first presents - a local mental health service, Aboriginal health service, a drug and alcohol service, a hospital, or even the police - they will be accessing a clear and consistent model of care."

It is expected the program will be expanded to include all other regions.

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