One Wagga woman says the launch of a new “one-stop-shop” mental health facility will save lives.
It follows the unofficial opening of LikeMind last month, bringing health professionals and care services under one roof, in an open and welcoming environment.
The AfterCare-operated Baylis Street clinic this week welcomed Wagga residents to celebrate its launch.
For Elizabeth Wait, the news felt like a victory.
Ms Wait lead a fight for better mental health services after she was forced to wait six-hours in the emergency department, with a friend who was losing a battle with mental demons.
She last year took to Facebook to share the harrowing tale of her friend’s experience, as she waited for a doctor; calling for a new and more relaxed specialist health centre.
One year later, Ms Wait’s dream has become reality. She said it showed the power of people.
The new hub will provide access to general practitioners, physiologists, social workers, drug and alcohol services, employment and training support as well as general mental health care.
“This is exactly what I spoke about in 2016,” Ms Wait said.
“To see it open is fantastic … whether it was because of (what happened to my friend) or not.”
Sharing her time between Melbourne and Wagga, Ms Wait said there were many she knew who would greatly benefit from Wagga’s “incredible news”.
“It’s amazing,” Ms Wait said.
“I hope it can take away the stress of some people in the community, as well as take pressure off the staff at the hospital.”
The boost to Wagga’s mental health support services could not come at a better time, with rural suicide rates more than 50-per-cent higher than capital cities, according to Centre for Remote and Rural Mental Health report.
LikeMind’s Wagga manager Nicole Birkin said the beauty of the clinic – one of four in the state – was the ability to walk-in and receive coordinated care without an appointment or a referral.
Related: New mental health help for Wagga
She said it simplified an otherwise stressful help-seeking process and helped lift any mental illness stigmas.
“People can just come in and have a cup of tea and relax,” Ms Birkin said.
“They don’t have to leave the building and tell their story over and over … it’s like an adult Headspace.”
For more information CLICK HERE, visit the clinic at 46-52 Baylis Street or call (02) 6936 2000.