Mental health project won’t get funding

Zoe KeenanSouth Western Times
The pilot program has been running for three years in the Warren Blackwood area.
Camera IconThe pilot program has been running for three years in the Warren Blackwood area.

A youth mental health program in the Warren Blackwood region will not be funded next year, despite a recommendation in the Productivity Commission’s draft mental health report to strengthen emotional learning programs in schools.

The three-tier mental health program operates in several schools in the Warren Blackwood region and is run by not-for-profit GP Down South.

The program delivers three levels of support to Year 10 students in schools including mental health workshops, group counselling sessions, and one-on-one sessions.

The pilot program was funded by the WA Primary Health Alliance who ceased funding in June, due to the need to fund primary mental health treatment services instead of prevention services.

GP Down South business development and management support co-ordinator Bonnie Allen applied for funding from the WA Mental Health Commission but was unsuccessful.

According to the commission, funding for these types of services had already been allocated this financial year.

But Ms Allen said the program was not recommended for future funding through the commission because of its effectiveness, which she said was hard measure in prevention programs.

“You don’t know how many kids you’ve saved from suicide, you can’t determine that outcome, but we’re getting good statistics in terms of awareness,” Ms Allen said.

Making reference to a study done in the Shire of Manjimup last year, which found the area had the highest rate of suicide across the board in WA, Ms Allen said the program was needed.

The Productivity Commission’s draft mental health report, released in October, made recommendations for governments to strengthen the ability of schools to assist students and deliver a social and emotional learning curriculum. It also recommended the implementation of a mental illness prevention policy.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails