Millions more for mental health in the Illawarra

Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird and Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today welcomed the announcement that local residents with mental illness will benefit from $9.3 million provided to Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local from the Partners in Recovery program.

“This funding will be used to help local health providers collaborate and come up with solutions to improve the response of our health system to people with severe and persistent mental illness”, said Ms Bird.

Some of the local health organisations participating in this initiative include Southern Youth and Family Services, Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service, Illawarra Disability Trust and the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW.

Stephen Jones said the partnerships will collaborate on complex issues connected to mental health such as drugs and alcohol, housing, homelessness, employment, education, emergency services, and hospital emergency departments.

“Currently the contact of many people suffering from mental illness with essential services like Centrelink, their GP or the Department of Housing is sporadic and patchy due to their condition.”

“Now for the first time in our region, we’ve got a team of experts from various sectors, services and supports working together to make sure locals with mental illness get the care they need”, said Jones.

Ms Bird said people living with long-term psychosis are 10 times more likely to be homeless, 50 per cent less likely to have completed school, overwhelmingly likely to be living on income support, and have a life expectancy that lags the national average by up to 30 years.

“I’m delighted to see this significant funding for mental health services in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region.”

To support the implementation of PIR, the inaugural national workshop for PIR organisations will be held in Melbourne on 27 and 28 June 2013, to commence discussions around important implementation issues.

More information about the program, including a full list of organisations, can be found at www.health.gov.au/mentalhealth

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