POLL: Collie suffers mental health staff shortage

Demand: Bunbury Counselling director Carrina Bradbury with a whiteboard full of initiatives for Collie's mental health needs.
Demand: Bunbury Counselling director Carrina Bradbury with a whiteboard full of initiatives for Collie's mental health needs.

A lack of trained staff to deal with a growing demand for mental health services in Collie was just one of a several challenges identified at a forum held in Collie on Tuesday.

The forum, held at Collie Family Centre, was led by the director of Bunbury Counsel-ling Carrina Bradbury and was attended by representatives from a range of agencies.

Bunbury Counselling is consulting with government, community members, private mental health providers and those working with mental health clients to find ways to improve communication between the agencies, with the aim of boosting the service they can offer the town.

Ms Bradbury opened the discussion by identifying Collie's need for adequate mental health services based on the outcomes of two surveys designed by Bunbury Counselling late last year, to make a case for more funding from the government.

"Feedback from our online surveys reveals that one of the biggest barriers in limiting agencies' capacity to deliver adequate mental health services is the lack of trained staff, followed by limitations in funding," she said.

"The survey also reveals that a number of outreach services are provided in Collie and a high percentage of interagency collaboration exists.

"Given the high needs in Collie and the low level of mental health services, it is proposed that an integration will reduce a double-up with clients and potentially streamline our capacity as human service professionals to partner and support across organisations and departments.

"This would ultimately increase productivity and outcomes for clients and mental health services across the community."

Other representatives said there was not enough supported housing in Collie and there was a lack of affordable transport for clients to attend counselling appointments in Bunbury.

A representative from Bunbury Pathways said free mental health programs would be made available in Collie from March 13.

The programs are designed for people who have a mental illness and for those who were supporting somebody with a mental illness.

For more information about the Bunbury Pathways program, call Jenny Dean 9791 9875.

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