Call for better mental health service co-ordination
A TWEED health worker has called for a co-ordinated approach from service providers to ensure people with mental health issues do not continue to fall through the gaps.
Headspace Tweed Heads regional centre manager Lana Jankowiak floated the idea as a means to ensure help for those with mental health issues living in regional and rural areas.
The call comes after the National Rural Health Alliance released figures that highlight the divide between people living in Australia’s rural and regional areas and those in the major cities.
The statistics reveal that the rate of suicide is 66% higher in country areas than in major cities.
The figures also indicate that the per capita Medicare expenditure on mental health in rural areas is 40% less than that in major cities.
Ms Jankowiak said people living in regional areas often found it difficult to access mental health services, including early intervention facilities like Headspace.
“Our statistics are showing that people who are accessing a service are located within 35km of that service,” she said.
“For those in the regional and remote areas, they don’t have that access. What people want is for the services to come to them.”
Ms Jankowiak however downplayed the need to introduce new services, suggesting instead a co-ordinated approach by already established services.
“There is no doubt that there are certainly gaps for services in those regions but we don’t need to recreate the wheel,” she said.
“It’s about working in partnership, working alongside existing services.”
Ms Jankowiak said an audit of community services that currently exist would help identify the gaps.
“It would allow us to see where we are doing it right and where we are missing the mark,” she said.
The call for a collaborative approach coincided with the first anniversary of the Tweed Headspace branch.