Published by The Border Watch
By Raquel Mustillo
AN INTEGRATED information hub to help people with mental health conditions receive better access to information and resources should be funded by the State Government, Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell says.
On the eve of the South Australian Budget, the independent MP called on the State Government to establish one-stop mental health shop to provide information to individuals in need.
Mr Bell said the need for increased mental health funding in the regions has been exacerbated by Covid-19, adding the mental health and wellbeing of residents was one of the state's biggest post-pandemic challenges.
He said the establishment of a centralised physical location would provide important information and resources on conditions and services, as well as provide support for different groups including older people or carers.
"A lot of people who have mental health conditions don't know where to go to access help and that's where I would like to see a one-stop mental health shop in Mount Gambier," Mr Bell said.
"There's bit and pieces here and there, but what we don't have is coordination with existing services.
"That office can coordinate all the existing services to provide a road map or pathway for people who need assistance." Mr Bell said statistics showing an increase in calls to Lifeline's national hotline indicated a future unprecedented demand for mental health services.
He raised concerns about a looming workforce crisis and major shortages in South Australia.
"There needs to be retention and recruitment strategies for mental health workers in regional centres," Mr Bell said.
"I have been informed job vacancies are staying unfilled for months and sometimes years."