Selectability employees outside the Rockhampton office.
Selectability employees outside the Rockhampton office.

New hub to fill Rocky specialist mental health support gap

Regional Queenslanders lacking specialist support are the focus of a new mental health support and suicide prevention provider in North Rockhampton.

Not-for-profit Selectability offers NDIS and clinical services, as well as certificate training and short courses.

At the official Rockhampton opening on Wednesday morning, attended by about 30 people, Selectability chair Tom Ryan said he was surprised at the demand for mental health support in the Beef Capital.

“The first thing we did was have a look and see, ‘Is there a need?” he said.

“We got a bit of a shock actually, to discover that there’s virtually no service.

“There’s a need here. So we established that.”

He said it was essential to establish that the company and its workers were part of Rockhampton.

“It can’t be fly-in, fly-out,” he said. “Those are swear words in Queensland.

“We understand in a lot of communities, that’s necessary, but it’s really not a great solution.

“We are here, we’re here to stay, and obviously what we want to build is a Rockhampton organisation.

“The talent’s here. We’re a training organisation so if we don’t have people with those particular skills coming in, we can give them to them.”

Selectability CEO Debra Burden.
Selectability CEO Debra Burden.

CEO Debra Burden said given the funding, the organisation was interested in opening a bike shed or clubhouse for people to meet and spend time with others, as the clearest way of helping to prevent suicide was to “give people something to do, something to look forward to, and something to love”.

“What I’ve seen and what they openly talk about at the Suicide Prevention Australia conference is what’s being done now doesn’t work,” she said.

“The figures are still increasing of people actually killing themselves by suicide, or trying to kill themselves.”

She said Selectability stood out as a specifically-regional provider, with other practices in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, and elsewhere.

“There are organisations like us that are national organisations, and they have services that they provide in regional areas,” Ms Burden said.

“But it’s not like they’re living in the regions every single day like we are. We know, we’re part of regional Queensland, we live here.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve had at least one person every six months to say, ‘Do you provide services in Central Queensland?

“In addition there’s been funders … and they indicated that there was a need in Rockhampton as well.”

Selectability currently has eight employees at its Musgrave Street office, but Ms Burden expected that to balloon by the end of the year.

She encouraged anyone, even those without experience, interested in working within the mental health support sector to get in touch with Selectability.

If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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