Health alliance fires up

Augusta Margaret River Times
Members of the Augusta-Margaret River Community Health and Wellbeing Alliance.
Camera IconMembers of the Augusta-Margaret River Community Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

A new alliance of mental health professionals established last year is gearing up to review its draft action plan.

But chairman Stuart Hicks, from the Augusta-Margaret River Community Health and Wellbeing Alliance, said extra members with valuable professional or lived experience were still encouraged to join the group.

Impetus for the group was partly linked to last year’s Lishman Foundation report, which reviewed feedback from doctors and other stakeholders to find Margaret River’s rich-poor divide and community drug use were major contributors to the region’s high suicide rate.

Mr Hicks said last week’s Times report on mental health and drug-use statistics for Margaret River Hospital showed why the alliance had a crucial role to play. “The alliance met ... (last) Thursday night in building a comprehensive onslaught on mental health issues in the Margaret River community,” he said.

“Within the alliance there are now four teams, each combining mental health professionals and community members, each under a team captain, working on the four key problem areas in our region as identified by Lishman and other reviews.

“It’s early days, but there’s a new army of good people kicking back on mental health.”

The former South West Development Commission chairman said new members would strengthen those teams. “Community members who bring skills, energy and knowledge on mental health are welcome,” Mr Hicks said.

“We’re really keen to link up with people who have lived through significant mental health issues, who can help share their experience, and how things can be managed better in our shire.”

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