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If you would like to help out with a donation please send your cheque to: Suicide Awareness .Com Inc, 'Bricks for Life', PO Box 8039 , Griffith  NSW   2680

House of Hope

Fed up with battling bureaucracy to get a suicide safety house in Griffith, Val Rowe has decided to take matters into her own hands.

FED up mental health advocate Val Rowe has launched a new campaign to help rebuild the lives of locals in crisis. Her latest initiative, Bricks for Life, asks the Griffith community to buy a brick to build its own safe house.

"Basically I'm sick and tired of all of the red tape, political garbage and excuses from the health service," she said. "People are suffering, they are dying and all I hear is excuses. I've been trying to get a safe house in this city for over three years, it is what we need. The only way we'll see results is to work at building it ourselves."

Mrs Rowe, president of the Suicide Awareness group, last year described news that Griffith Base Hospital had secured two mental health observation beds in the emergency department redesign as "very welcome". However, constant questions from the general public and a delay in the upgrade have seen her take matters into her own hands.

"I am copping abuse from residents asking where the beds are," she said. "I've come to the conclusion the only way we'll see a result is to ask the community to show their support and get behind it. At this stage, I'm just trying to gauge interest. It's sad that we have to get to this point."

Mrs Rowe is calling for the community to donate $2 per brick for the campaign. Local tradesmen are also being urged to get behind the project."We'll obviously need lots of help, everyone from electricians, builders, painters and plumbers," she said. "If we work together I'm hoping Griffith and the surrounding villages can show the government that we do care what happens to our mentally ill."

Griffith Base Hospital general manager Yogendra Narayan declined to comment on the new campaign. Instead he said, future projections for mental health services did indicate a requirement of two mental health beds at the hospital. "We are in the process of the final draft of the clinical health program for Murrumbidgee, which will be presented for public consultation in the next month," he said.

"Within that we have provided for two mental health observation/short stay beds. I'd like to make the point that mental health inpatient beds are only a small part of the mental health solution. It is utterly important that mental health patients and their carers have appropriate support structures in this community and these are issues the Griffith Mental Health task force will be discussing when they meet today."

Story by Tanya Pattison, The Area News, Wednesday March 8 2006.



Suicide Awareness .com Inc

PO Box 8039, Griffith
NSW 2680, Australia