GRIFFITH'S Bricks for Life initiative has caught the attention of Labor senator Ursula Stephens who took time out to meet with vocal mental health campaigner Val Rowe last Friday morning.
In town as part of Labor's Water Taskforce, Dr Stephens, who convenes the Parliamentary Friends of Schizophrenia, was keen to hear about the project.
She said the senate report tabled last week calling for urgent new money, new systems, new services and a new level of accountability by governments to address Australia's mental health problems was very welcome.
It was a letter written by Mrs Rowe asking for input into the concept that caught the attention of the senator, prompting the meeting. "The momentum that's gathered for this project is fantastic," she said.
"I think the concept is something that's worth exploring but the community as a whole must be very clear about what is needed and that can only be done by mapping the needs to come up with a solution that is realistically genuine."
"It's about substantiating the problem and the support of the community."
Mrs Rowe said she was happy Dr Stephens took the time out to see her. "It was very productive and informative," she said. "It has given me some direction. I'm as convinced as ever it could become a reality as long as I get the support of other service providers in Griffith."
"In fact, I think now is the time for them to step forward and let us know what they think."
During the early morning meeting Dr Stephens called the project "ambitious" and said she would follow its progress.
Story by Tanya Pattison, The Area News, Friday April 7 2006.