Wagga's ‘desperately needed’ mental health service in doubt

LikeMind mental health service survival in doubt as Queensland 'fix-it' team arrive.
LikeMind mental health service survival in doubt as Queensland 'fix-it' team arrive.

The freshly-opened mental health clinic LikeMind is looking set to fold mere months after it opened. 

The “one-stop-shop” for mental health was set to be a “watershed” for clients, offering a range of health professionals and care services under one roof.

The $2.3 million facility includes six consulting rooms, two doctors’ rooms and a general treatment room. But shadow was cast across the service’s future, following reports of unsuccessful recruitment calls. 

The manger of an alternative mental health service in Wagga said the millions of dollars would be a waste if it failed to get off the ground. 

The clinic is operated by mental health organisation Aftercare, located opposite the Victoria Hotel. 

Aftercare confirmed it was having difficulty with recruitment and had sent a specially assigned “fix-it” team from Queensland to assist the clinic in its initial stages. 

Service quality, safety and governance manager, Catherine Scott-Richardson, said the team was determined to “turn things around”. 

“Things aren’t going the way they have been intended,” she said.

“But we are recruiting for a clinical manager and private practitioners now … and we are here to see clients and delivery therapy.”

While a general practitioner has been hired, Ms Richardson – a nurse – said she was seeing patients, alongside an acting general manager-psychologist, a social worker, an operations manager and an administration assistant. 

“(We) possess tenacity and resilience in delivering mental health services … we haven’t given up before,” she said. “No one will be left without help.” 

Mental health minister Pru Goward in 2016 announced Wagga would be the second regional site in NSW to host the initiative, bringing together mental health, drug and alcohol specialists under one roof.

However, Amaranth Foundation manager John Smith said infighting and bullying at a government level was partly to blame for LikeMind’s failure to launch. 

“It is a great idea and a great theory … we supported it,” Mr Smith said. “But while Community Mental Health has its finger in the pie, it will crash against the rocks.”

He said it was a recovery and rehabilitative service Wagga desperately needed and would be a shame to lose. ​

The Daily Advertiser is seeking comment from Community Mental Health.