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Mental health support service for Bundaberg

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Wide Bay Mental Health and Specialised Services (WBMHSS) Program Manager Geoff Richardson, WBMHSS Peer Support Worker Carey Thomson, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Acting Chief Executive Fiona Sewell and Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith.

Preparations have begun to build a new service at Bundaberg Hospital that will provide a light of hope to people experiencing mental health distress.

The Lighthouse Crisis Support Space will enable suitable mental health consumers to be fast-tracked out of the emergency department (ED) or bypass it all together, and access care both from peer workers and mental health clinicians.

Preparations for the service’s establishment follow the successful launch of The Oasis crisis support space at Hervey Bay Hospital, which opened last year as part of a statewide trial of the new model of care.

Located across from the ambulance bay from the Bundaberg Hospital emergency department, the Lighthouse construction site has been fenced off and is being prepared so work can get under way.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Mental Health Robyn Bradley said while ED staff did an amazing job in a high-pressure and complex environment, waiting for sometimes lengthy periods in an ED could exacerbate the distress of people experiencing a mental health crisis.

“The Oasis Crisis Support Space at Hervey Bay has shown us this model works – it's been enormously successful in supporting mental health consumers and has attracted overwhelmingly positive feedback,” she said.

“One of the key aspects of the service that sets it apart is that it’s led by peer workers – staff members who draw on their own lived experience of mental health challenges and trained to provide support and hope to people as they work towards recovery.

“By providing an alternative model of care for people experiencing mental health crisis or distress, the service has been changing and saving lives – and we’re excited to be extending it to the Bundaberg community.”

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said he looked forward to The Lighthouse officially opening later this year.

“Mental Health support for patients in the Emergency Department and broader health service is often raised with me by members of the community, especially now that we have a more informed understanding of the challenges facing people in distress,” he said.

“It is an important milestone towards providing completing a project that will deliver not only healthier outcomes for people in mental health distress presenting to the hospital, but also safer outcomes for themselves.

“By providing a specialised environment that is designed to accommodate both peer and clinical support, The Lighthouse will offer a much more appropriate place of care for people presenting in distress or crisis.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said the Lighthouse project was funded by our $1.6 billion Better Care Together five-year mental health plan.

“It provides an alternative to the Bundaberg Hospital ED for people requiring mental health support while also improving crisis care experiences and outcomes for these consumers,” she said.

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