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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

Beds a boon for Griffith
Meagher announces $8.9m mental health centre to be built.

LOCALS have welcomed the NSW health minister Reba Meagher's announcement that an $8.9 million 20-bed mental health facility will be built in Griffith.

On Wednesday during the official opening of the emergency department upgrade, Ms Meagher said the new non-acute mental health unit will greatly improve access to mental health care and reduce the need to travel for specialist treatment.

Elated Suicide Awareness president Val Rowe, who has spent the past four years pushing for improved services, including championing the Bricks for Life campaign, called the announcement "the best news she's ever heard".

The Bricks for Life campaign asked the Griffith commumity to buy a brick to build its own safe house. To date, more than $10,000 has been raised with business and tradesmen signing on to offer support. "For four years I've been nagging, writing letters, meeting ministers and finally they have woken up that we need it," Ms Rowe said. "I just hope they are going to keep the community informed, because as we've seen from the number who offered support with the bricks idea, everyone wanted to be involved. When I heard the news it was such a relief. I feel like the Griffith people have won lotto."

Mayor Dino Zappacosta agreed it was good news for the whole community. "Mental health issues and access to services were identified during the consultation phase for the Griffith Community Action Plan (CAP)," Cr Zappacosta said. "In fact, people believed the services this city required most of all were within the field of health, including mental health. One of the key strategies of the CAP was to increase the provision of mental health services - an issue that was also identified in the NSW State Plan. The minister's announcement today will make major inroads in achieving these goals by providing a dedicated, local facility to help local people suffering from mental health issues."

Planning for the unit has commenced and construction work is expected to begine by mid 2009. Several options are currently under consideration and a location at the Griffith Base Hospital site is yet to be decided.

Story by Tanya Pattison, The Area News, February 15 2008.



Suicide Awareness .com Inc

PO Box 8039, Griffith
NSW 2680, Australia