Mental health support under threat

A PROGRAM helping people with mental health issues find accommodation after leaving hospital is under a cloud.

The State Government has cut funding by half and uncertainty surrounds Federal commitments.

The Lamp National Partnership Agreement Homelessness program employs a support worker and is jointly funded by the State and Federal governments, but was recently told it would not receive the $77,000 of funding from the State from next year.

“This is halving the program at a time when need has never been greater and this is also the only program down here for this particular group of people,” Lamp chief executive officer Lorrae Loud said.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the Mental Health Commission’s contribution to the program was subject to funding from the Federal Government, which he said would cease in June next year. But Ms Loud said Lamp had received no indication from the Federal Government funding would stop.

Mr Cook said there were services that provided support for people living with mental health issues and emergency short and longterm housing support was available, but Ms Loud stressed the importance of the dedicated service, saying securing accommodation was the first step in people’s recovery from mental illness.

Forrest MHR Nola Marino said Commonwealth funding was being provided to States and Territories under the $117.2 million Transitional National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness to support more than 700 critical frontline homelessness services.

“The agreement enables the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments to develop the new $1.5 billion National Housing and Homelessness Agreement announced in the May Budget,” she said.

South West Counselling chief executive Karen Sommerville said the loss of funding would leave a gap in support services.

Source: Bunbury Herald.