HERE TO HELP: Southwest mental health support workers Brad Graham and Christina Waldron stand together as they tackle a huge issue.
HERE TO HELP: Southwest mental health support workers Brad Graham and Christina Waldron stand together as they tackle a huge issue. Paul Stone

Mental health services to support every step of the way

MENTAL health services in the southwest have experienced a 20 per cent increase in the past year as efforts to build awareness intensify.

The Western Queensland Primary Health Network's latest release of health data for the region shows the "occasions of service” among its commissioned providers rose by more than 400 compared to 2017-18.

WQPHN mental health program manager Heather Hall said it was evidence of a twofold trend.

"On the ground, we see there is an increase in people recognising the signs of mental health and it's also clear the drought is having an impact on the well-being of communities in the southwest,” Ms Hall said.

"But the great, untold story in this space is the incredible effort being put into increasing awareness of mental health services and how to access them.”

WQPHN is collaborating with Maranoa Regional Council and the Queensland Mental Health Commission on the "Place-Based Suicide Prevention Project” in the southwest.

There are 12 local services that provide mental health support, including low-intensity or non-clinical services where clients with mild or moderate mental health concerns can access support at an early stage.

Lives Lived Well mental health coach Brad Graham said it was important locals were aware that help was close by.

"Our role is to help people into a position where they can start to deal with everyday life again, build on their own capacity or strength and then if there are more complex issues to deal with, there are services we are linked with that can also assist with that,” Mr Graham said.

"One client I saw recently, I barely recognised him - he'd changed so much for the better. When I first saw him he was slouched over, hair across his face, wouldn't engage with anyone.

"He underwent our six week course and then when we followed up six months later he was a different person - standing up straight, head up high, completely different attitude.

"If you can change direction by one degree each time, eventually over a long period it all adds up and you'll be heading on a completely different path.”

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.


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