Mental health service expands

15 Nov 2017 Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will more than double the time they spend in Benalla giving local children much better access to vital mental health support. State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced the expansion of the program after meeting with a small group of local health providers, council members and school representatives last Wednesday. This morning (Wednesday, November 8) I met with some mental health service providers, the council and representatives from our school community here in Benalla, Ms Symes said. The community is very passionate about mental health support particularly for young people here in town, so it was very pleasing to be able to announce additional child and adolescent mental health services. The CAMHS Outreach team, which currently provide Benalla with a two days per fortnight, will be increased to five days per fortnight. Having the additional hours of that dedicated child and young persons mental health outreach worker is a welcome addition to the services in town, Ms Symes said. It has come off the back of a forum held 18 month ago, which discussed mental health issues. But we also have some very hard-working dedicated locals who are committed to the mental health outcomes of people here in Benalla. Tragically Benalla has had its fair share of suicides and particularly those of some young people in town. The complexity of suicide is that there is no one cause, it can be social isolation, it can be anxiety, it can be mental health, it can be family violence related. There are numerous causes of this very complex social issue, but whats important is that we have the right support in place for people that are trying to seek help. Benalla is one of 12 areas across the state to be undertaking a place-based suicide prevention approach, tailoring support, education and clinical services to the needs of the local community. The Benalla Rural City Council has also been delivering their Youth Mental Health education and suicide prevention program Live4Life and there is a mental health nurse assisting GPs at the Church St Clinic. Since the forum, the Benalla Mental Health and Wellbeing group has been established and is committed to community engagement to support good mental health. The additional CAHMS hours will not only directly help many young people, but take some of the pressure off local GPs, schools and youth services. Ms Symes is seeking feedback about the rollout of the additional hours and said it was important the model of care was Benalla specific, ensured young people could easily access the service and was complementary to the existing avenues where young people sought help. There is a lot of positive action happening in Benalla to reduce the stigma of mental illness and improving access to services and the additional support for young people will be a welcome addition, Ms Symes said. Caption Text: Jaclyn Symes Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate