Mental health

Here you can find information about mental health services in regional Western Australia.

Mental health issues in Western Australia

"In general the prevalence of mental health conditions in rural and remote Australia has been estimated as equivalent to levels in major cities. However rural Australians face greater challenges as a result of such conditions, due both to the difficulty of accessing the support needed for mental illness and to the greater visibility and stigma..."[1]

  • Mental health disorders account for approximately 16% of the total burden of disease in Western Australia and by 2016 is expected to move from the third to the second highest cause of disease burden. [2]
  • In 2007, approximately 20% of Australian's experienced a mental health disorder. The prevalence was highest among those aged 16-24 years.[3]

 Footnotes:

  1. The National Rural Health Alliance: Fact Sheet 18: Mental Health in Rural Australia. May 2009
  2. WA health and Wellbeing Surveillance System. Bulletin 4 September 2006
  3. Slade et al. The Mental health of Australians 2. Report on the 2007 National Survey of Mental health and Well-being

Our work program

The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) is a major provider of mental health services designed to improve the quality of life and care of Western Australians with mental illness.

A range of mental health services across the continuum of care are delivered in all of the seven WACHS regions from a variety of locations in partnership with other providers including non government providers and GPs.  

WACHS aims to enhance the social and emotional wellbeing and improve mental health among populations and individuals by:

  • Provision of high quality specialist mental health services to the rural and remote communities of Western Australia.Increasing the extent to which mental health and social and emotional wellbeing is promoted within communities
  • Working with communities and organisations to implement strategies which increase participation in a range of social, educational and economic activities.

Service models

The WA Country Health Services (WACHS) utilises a range of service models to provide mental health programs to rural and remote residents that include:

  • Mental health promotion and early intervention
  • Community Mental Health services are delivered from many locations across WACHS. Services are provided by in-reach to local hospitals, outreach to other regional locations on a regular or as needs basis, visits to patients homes, in clinics and other locations as required
  • Telepsychiatry: high quality videoconferencing to enable greater access to services across the regions
  • Inpatient services: Authorised Psychiatric Units (APU) are located in Kalgoorlie, Albany and Bunbury. A new unit is scheduled to open in Broome in 2012. Services include consultation and liaison, comprehensive assessment and treatment, discharge planning in consultation with carers, referrers and/or Community Mental Health teams
  • Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service is a new service that aims to improve access to culturally appropriate mental health services for Aboriginal people and their families.

Services and support are provided to children, adolescents, youth, adults, elderly and their families by teams of multi disciplinary professionals which include mental health nurses, clinical psychologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, occupational therapists, Aboriginal mental health workers and youth counsellors.

Guiding principles

The WACHS and all its partners are committed to the provisions of high quality mental health services in accordance with the National Mental Health Standards and endorse the following guiding principles of:

  • Mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention
  • Community-focused approach
  • Partnerships
  • Whole of person approach
  • Family inclusive approach
  • A focus on recovery
  • Service responsiveness
  • Consumer and carer participation
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Safety and quality in care

Future direction

In alignment with the State's mental health strategy, Mental Health 2020: Making it Personal and Everybody's Business, WACHS has developed a strategic intent document to guide the development of mental health services in rural and remote WA to 2020. This strategy sets out to achieve a sustainable mental health care service that will meet the changing needs of a diverse and often isolated population and includes:

  • Delivering services across seven health regions: Kimberley, Pilbara, Midwest, Wheatbelt, Goldfields, South West and Great Southern;
  • Development of services in the key priority areas of Aboriginal, child and youth and older adult services;
  • Improved collaboration and integration with drug and alcohol services;
  • Addressing critical shortages of mental health professionals in country areas;
  • Developing telepsychiatry for clinical consultation, staff development and supervision; and
  • Promoting the Rurallink after hours' service for clients, family and service providers.

Mentally Healthy WA's Act-Belong-Commit Campaign

Keeping mentally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy and it's as easy as ABC: Act-Belong-Commit.

The Act-Belong-Commit campaign was launched state-wide in April 2008 and WACHS continues to support the promotion of this campaign throughout its seven regions.

Other resources and contacts

Rurallink (After hours' mental health telephone service): 1800 552 002 (Freecall) or 1800 720 101 (TTY)

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Mensline Australia: 1300 789 978

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Useful links

WA Mental Health Commission

Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

Australian Government Department Health & Ageing, Mental Health Branch

Multicultural Mental Health Australia (part of the Diversity Health Institute)

SANE Australia

Council of Official Visitors

Mental Health Review Board