LOCAL mental health advocate has slammed the federal
government's decision to ignore Griffith and establish
a youth health centre in Wagga.
Yesterday, in an effort to redress the lack of
mental health, drug and alcohol services in rural
and regional Australian, Health Minister Nicola
Roxon announced Wagga as the site of one of 20
new youth community centres.
But the announcement has drawn criticism from
Suicide Awareness president Val Rowe, who said
Griffith had again missed out on a vital service.
"It's very, very disappointing that Griffith
has missed out again," Ms Rowe said. "There's
enough stress and complications that families
have to go through without having the cost and
the burden of a trip to Wagga cast over them."
In making the announcement, Ms Roxon said the
government was spending $19 million to ensure
rural and regional youths aged between 12 and
25 years had access to the same quality of care
available in the capital cities. "The need
for more youth services is particularly urgent
in regional and rural Australia, where many communities
continue to struggle with the impact of drought
and high unemployment," Ms Roxon said. "Regional
and rural Australia have often suffered from a
lack of health services. This investment will
help tackle that gap."
Ms Rowe said the decision would make Suicide Awareness
even more determined to get its Bricks for Life
suicide safety house built. "It's heartbreaking
that our city has had so many issues in the last
12 months and yet we can't get a centre here,"
she said. "I suppose it means we are just
going to have to fight harder and harder for our
bricks and do it ourselves."
by Ross Tyson, The Area News, January 9 2008.