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‘Mental health is close to home but help is far away’

By McIvor Times

ALTHOUGH we are only at the beginning of our rapid growth, our communities are already experiencing limited access to crisis and ongoing mental health support services. One in 15 people in Mitchell Shire report high or very high psychological distress – this alarming statistic is higher than the Victorian average.

Shire mayor Bill Chisholm said council was campaigning towards staying ahead of increasing mental illness health statistics in Mitchell Shire.

‘‘Part of Mitchell Shire’s federal election advocacy campaign is to highlight the significant work our local mental health service providers do, yet more funding is needed to improve these services to cut down on wait times and help our residents receive support,’’ he said.

‘‘Lack of access to appropriate and accessible services is evident as Mitchell Shire is presenting with increasing rates of youth mental health issues including anxiety and depression, attempted suicide, substance use as well as disengagement and withdrawal from formal education.

‘‘We’ve recently received funding from the State Government for a new youth services hub in Wallan. To ensure the hub can operate to its full potential, we now need Federal funding to facilitate the ongoing operation for this mental health service.

‘‘According to the latest data, just 46.5 per cent of Mitchell Shire residents feel valued by society. This is one of the lowest numbers in Victoria. People also report high levels of mental stress which is at 14.8 per cent of the population,’’ Cr Chisholm said.

‘‘We are at the beginning of our rapid growth and already our communities are experiencing limited access to health and human services. The lack of services forces vulnerable people to seek appointments further away with significant wait and travel times.

“Mental health is close to home, but help is far away. Something must be done now.’’