Support sought for mental health facility site

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The east side of Bulgarra has been proposed as the new site of a step-up, step-down mental health facility in Karratha.

More than 40 potential sites were surveyed for the facility, with the Gregory Road block chosen because of its proximity to the city centre and existing community services.

The site is bound by a residential area to the north, Searipple Road to the west, vacant land to the east, and Millstream Road to the south.

City of Karratha Deputy Mayor Grant Cucel said there was some misunderstanding about the type of services being proposed at the facility.

“The proposed step-up, step-down service is intended to provide a supportive place for people experiencing mental illness to stay voluntarily for a short period of time to help them stay out of hospital and remain in the community, close to family and friends,” he said.

“This is not a clinical service and the delivery model is specifically designed to be placed in a residential setting to assist with recovery and provide a welcoming environment that is different to hospital.

“We are hopeful the community will support this opportunity to provide additional support services in our area, and much-needed relief to local mental health care providers who are struggling to keep up with demand.”

Mental Health Commissioner Timothy Marney said consultation with the community would begin shortly.

“People accessing the service are currently living in Karratha and surrounds but without the support they would benefit from with access to this service,” he said.

“Services like the community mental health step-up, step-down services are ideally located in residential settings within proximity to amenities such as public transport, shopping and recreational precincts.”

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said he supported the proposed site.

“I urge the community to get behind the building of this facility to address the mental health issues that can often go unnoticed in our Pilbara,” he said.

The original location across the road from the RSL Club in Millars Well was canned after community backlash about the proximity to a primary school and licensed venue, and distance from health and retail facilities.

The new site is about 200 metres from St Pauls Primary School and 400 metres from the shopping centre.

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