Queens Park to be site of interim youth mental health and homelessness service
Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson today marked International Youth Day by announcing a new $129.9 million youth mental health package at an interim eight-bed Youth Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Homelessness Service in Queens Park.
The interim service will use existing facilities that are being repurposed to provide transitional supported accommodation for young people aged 16 to 24 years while planning continues for a permanent purpose-built 16-bed facility. It is expected to be in operation before the end of the year.
The facility will provide transitional supported accommodation for young people aged 16 to 24 who show signs and symptoms of a mental health issue, with or without a co-occurring alcohol or other drug issue, and who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
Richmond Wellbeing, in partnership with Cyrenian House and Anglicare, will deliver the interim service, with the East Metropolitan Health Service providing clinical in-reach.
Construction on a permanent 16-bed facility is expected to be completed by 2024.
The 2021-22 State Budget includes a $495 million investment into mental health for Western Australians. As part of this there is a $129.9 million youth package to help ease pressure on the current system, reduce wait-times for services and support the mental health workforce.
This package includes:
- expansion of the ‘Alcohol.Think Again’ Parents and Young People campaign to inform the knowledge and influence the behaviour of young people aged 12-17 to reduce alcohol-related harm;
- expansion of the Strong Spirit Strong Mind program for Aboriginal youth into regional areas to help prevent the early uptake of alcohol and drug use;
- establishment of a 10-bed youth-specific Step Up/Step Down community mental health service in the Perth metropolitan area, with 24/7 psychosocial and clinical supports;
- 30 psychosocial support packages for young people aged 16 to 24 with mental health, alcohol and other drug issues living in the metropolitan area, to assist them to live and participate in their community;
- expanding the Youth Community Assessment and Treatment Team outreach service from the south metropolitan to the wider Perth metropolitan area;
- providing Drug Education Support Services at five metropolitan and seven regional Youth Accommodation Support Services; and
- establishing a new youth mental health long-term housing and support program in the Perth metropolitan area.
The 2021-22 State Budget will also invest $31.7 million in expanding Western Australia’s eating disorder services, which will include 16 and 17-year-olds.
Services for children and adolescents will be significantly expanded. This includes $7.9 million for outpatient community services and an additional 44 staff for an uplift to Eating Disorder and Gender Diversity Services and the Emergency Telehealth Service.
“The McGowan Government is delivering on its commitments to better support people with mental health, alcohol and other drug issues across the State.
“This vital new service will help address gaps in services for young Western Australians aged 16-24 by providing immediate and short-term improvements while we plan and deliver on the longer-term transformation required for a modern, efficient mental health system.
“Our priority is to improve services and supports to help young people and their families to get the help they need and deserve.
“Improving the wellbeing of children and young people in our communities is an investment in Western Australia’s future.
“My focus is to help build a contemporary, world-class mental health service for infants, children and adolescents, and the State Government is taking action to deliver improvements.” said Minister of Mental Health Stephen Dawson.
“Homelessness is a complex problem that commonly co-exists with health, mental health, addiction and other issues.
“Addressing mental health and other strains can play a significant part in helping people experiencing homelessness to get their lives back on track, and this new initiative aims to help young Western Australians to achieve that at an early stage.
“I welcome this new interim service to support homeless youth with mental health, alcohol and other drug issues, which adds to the range of specialist supports funded by the McGowan Government to assist vulnerable Western Australians.” said Minister of Community Services Simone McGurk.
“We know that WA youth continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with even greater pressure placed upon the mental health and wellbeing of young people over the last 18 months.
“That’s why the McGowan Government is focusing additional support on Western Australia’s young people and investing in their recovery during these challenging times.” said Minister of Youth Dave Kelly.