People seeking help in the region's emergency departments for mental health issues are being seen almost as quickly as those wanting treatment for other issues.
A new report released on Wednesday by the Bureau of Health Information shows that 83 per cent of Murrumbidgee Local Health District's patients' care was started "within the clinical recommended time".
This was the second best result in the state, behind Northern Sydney Local Health District and far better than the state average, which showed treatment started on time for 70 per cent of mental health-related emergency department presentations, compared with 75 per cent of care for other reasons.
Between January and March 2019, there were 243 mental health admissions at Wagga Base Hospital.
According to the BHI report, 70 per cent of patients who arrived at hospital emergency departments within Murrumbidgee were seen within four hours and the rest within four to 24 hours. There was zero results for the category of more than 24 hours.
But we will have a long way to go. We don't want people to fall through the cracks and some still do.Jenna Roberts, Wagga mental health advocate
Wagga's Jenna Roberts, one of the deputy commissioners for the NSW Mental Health Commission, believes there have been real improvements in care for people seeking help with mental health issues.
Ms Roberts said she had never been approached by someone with concerns about waiting times in emergency departments.
"Emergency departments are continually trying to improve the experience and waiting times for people wanting to access mental health services," she said.
"There are changes like quiet rooms to help during busy times because it is a triage system and sometimes people do have to wait.
"But people are also willing to wait if it means they are able to get the right care."
Ms Roberts believes care for people with a mental health issue was generally improving.
"But we will have a long way to go. We don't want people to fall through the cracks and some still do," she said.
Robyn Manzie, the MLHD's director of mental health, drug and alcohol, said the district's mental health services and emergency department staff worked collaboratively to improve the management of people with mental health conditions who present to emergency departments.
"The report highlights that most mental health care is provided in the community, not in in-patient units. Care is provided by general practitioners, specialist community mental health services, and a range of private providers," Ms Manzie said.
If you need help, contact Accessline on 1800 800 944, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.