A New South Wales south coast MHPN network has won praise from the state’s mental health minister for its contribution to mental health in the region.
Visiting Ulladulla MHPN, the Minister for Mental Health and Healthy Lifestyles, Kevin Humphries, told the Milton-Ulladulla Times newspaper:
‘I cannot speak highly enough of the wonderful work they are doing in helping reduce the stigma around mental health [sic], promoting social inclusion and providing a practical way of dealing with mental health and drug and alcohol issues.’
The report said MHPN members met with the Minister and the Member for South Coast, Shelley Hancock, to discuss issues impacting on mental health in the area.
Transport shortages increase isolation
They raised concerns about shortages of public and specialised transport for people with mental illness, many of whom did not drive. As a result mental health workers were called on to transport them to treatments and work.
The MHPN delegation was also reported as saying that attracting mental health clinicians to regional and rural areas was difficult. It questioned the Minister on funding for more positions.
Recruiting overseas skills
He said moves were underway to recruit skilled mental health workers from countries such as Ireland to work in regional New South Wales.
He told the Times: ‘Issues raised highlight the importance of community action and engagement to improve the lives of those touched by mental illness. As I have said many times, improving outcomes in mental health is a community issue, and everybody’s business.’
The Ulladulla MHPN ismade up of clinical and non-clinical mental health workers who met monthly to connect a range of services.