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Old Great Northern Highway
St John of God Social Outreach chief executive Susan Cantwell says the new centre would focus on early intervention and prevention.

Midland mental health priority

By Claire Ottaviano

A SITE on Old Great Northern Highway in Midland has been approved for the State’s first pilot Adult Mental Health Centre (AMHC).

The $1.2 million Midland Head to Health centre, operated by St John of God Social Outreach, will offer free advice, support, assessment and treatment for people 18 years and older with stress, anxiety and other mild to moderate mental health issues.

St John of God Social Outreach chief executive Susan Cantwell said the centre had been designed specifically around the needs of the Midland, Guildford and Ellenbrook communities.

“The decision to place the centre around this area was based on a lack of mental health providers and an increase in the number of people who are reluctant to seek help because of the need to travel to do so,” she said.

“This area is deemed to be one of the areas that doesn’t have enough people to do what needs to be done for the needs of our current community.

“We believe this is an important step for the Midland community who are often left behind when it comes to getting resources.”

The Department of Health is funding one pilot AMHC in every state to respond to the ‘missing middle’ in the health system.

While primary care services offer ‘mild’ mental health care, and emergency department services treat ‘severe’ mental health needs, ‘moderate’ mental health needs are missing from the current system.

“These are everyday people who need support but whose symptoms are not severe enough to require admission to a hospital or emergency department help,” Ms Cantwell said.

Neighbouring property owner Paul Peghini presented to City of Swan Council this month to welcome the new tenants to the historic precinct but to also express some concerns about access, parking, safety, privacy and amenity.

In turn, an alternative motion not to approve the centre on the grounds of inadequate parking, amenity safety and anti-social behaviour, was put forward but later withdrawn.

In response to concerns, Ms Cantwell said St John of God Health Care had appointed a centre manager whose role would be to work closely with the police, City of Swan rangers and other after hours services to create a safe environment for clients, staff and the community.

“We have undertaken extensive community consultation on the location and operations of the centre, which has been designed by the community for the community,” she said.

“The building itself will be extensively refurbished to create a welcoming and safe space, and will also have state of the art amenities, security, alarms and lighting.

“The front of the building will have a garden and seating area that is partially screened to ensure privacy for those using the centre but also those living, using and working in the surrounding businesses.”

The centre will operate into the evenings and weekends and will have 11 consulting rooms for up to 33 clients a day.

It is expected to open early 2022.

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