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    Dr Cathy Tischler.

Wimmera mental-health centre part of Horsham discussions

A push for a Wimmera mental-health crisis centre was part of discussions at a meeting between leading regional advocates in Horsham yesterday.

The meeting was primarily to discuss mental-health advocacy prospects in the region in the wake of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and the proposed mental-health centre was on the agenda.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership organised the meeting, which included health-industry representatives as well as community advocates and leaders.

Regional partnership deputy chair Dr Cathy Tischler of Horsham said there was a clear need to address mental-health issues in the Wimmera and southern Mallee.

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“This meeting was about assessing a way forward in dealing with this complicated and difficult problem,” she said.

An advocacy group launched a renewed push for a 24-hour regional public mental-health centre in Horsham last month.

The group believes Royal Commission recommendations ‘opened the door’ for a Wimmera claim to become a western Victorian mental-
health base.

Dr Tischler, who has a doctorate in regional development and social science, said success in gaining government backing for an Orange Door Wimmera hub to deal with the fallout of domestic violence had provided momentum for exploration into broader connective opportunities.

“There appears to be an opportunity to push for a Wimmera stake in this and our job as advocates for our region is to explore where we might fit into the statewide picture,” she said.

“I am one of the many people confident we qualify based on an interpretation of the recommendations, but we must do our bit at a grass-roots level to ensure we tick all the boxes.

“To have a profound mental-health centre for Wimmera communities that covers off on being able to immediately help people would have a far-reaching effect on the overall health and wellbeing of the region.

“I’m personally keen for the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership to discuss and debate this at length. 

“It’s about considering our next priority in the community-health space and this appears to fit in neatly with progressive planning. 

“What we must ensure, is that if there is an opportunity presenting itself, we don’t miss it.”

Healthy Minds Horsham and regional Rotary clubs formed a united front in 2019 to tackle a ‘serious mental-health-service gap’ in the region.

Healthy Minds Horsham spokesman Gavin Morrow said last month there remained a ‘blatant’ need to get the formula right.

“That means pursuing what needs to happen for our region to get something tangible,” he said.

Mr Morrow feared that while it seemed obvious Horsham represented a central point for a vast region, there was a danger it would be overlooked based on a bureaucratic geographical analysis.

– Dean Lawson

The entire April 21, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!