Darumbal elder Wade Mann peforms a smoking ceremony at the offical opening of a new mental health service operating in Central Queensland.
Darumbal elder Wade Mann peforms a smoking ceremony at the offical opening of a new mental health service operating in Central Queensland. Chris Ison ROK110618cphn4

New mental health model opens doors for CQ community

A NEW mental health service officially opened its doors yesterday in a formal ceremony honouring the traditional owners of the land.

The event, attended by stakeholders, local Darumbal Elders and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, recognised the efforts to provide appropriate mental health services for the community.

Artius managing director, Paul Stokes, said the opening of the Federal Government-funded Stepped Care service provided a great opportunity to highlight the services available to those who may be struggling with mental health issues.

"You might be struggling with challenges in your life, from problems with the family to managing stress at work. The important thing is that there are pathways that can help you get the care you need,” Mr Stokes said.

"It doesn't matter who you are or where you are from, reaching out for help is the first step on the road to recovery.

"These services are designed to address the need across a broad spectrum, from mild mental health issues, through to severe and persistent mental ill-health.

"Providing the community with access to new services is a key step in working towards better mental health.

"People in Central Queensland have the opportunity to reach out for help and match the care they receive with their individual needs.”

Mr Stokes said the mental health centre was proud of the "collective effort” that had gone into building up the presence of mental health services in the area.

Ms Landry said she was proud to see the Australian government prioritising mental health as it is "on of the nation's most important issues”.

"We all know someone who has struggled with their mental health,” Ms Landry said.

"The stigma that once stopped people in need reaching out is being broken down and I hope to see this trend to continue.

"Our PHN network has done a power of work in identifying what our mental health services need to look like in order to succeed in this modern world. Especially considering here in Australia, one in four young people between the ages of 16 and 24, lives with mental illness and one in three experience significant psychological distress.

"Poor mental is particularly prevalent in regional and rural communities. That is why Artius is such an important development to help address our mental health needs in Central Queensland.”

Ms Landry said the services offered at Artius are designed in line with the Australia's Mental Health Commissioner's recommendation in establishing a new Stepped Care model.

"Central Queenslanders are just like everybody else; we have our trials and tribulations, we have good times and bad, and unfortunately we sometimes find ourselves in poor health, both physical and mental,” Ms Landry said.

"I am really pleased to see Artius set up in Rockhampton, offering easy access to mental health services so many of us need.

"This is a great initiative and I'm so glad to see improved services for Central Queenslanders.”

PHN senior manager for Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast, Riaz Ahmed, said the decision to fund the service reflected the need for flexible mental health services across the region.

"We understand every mental health journey is different, and people will require varying levels of support as they move through their recovery journey,” Mr Ahmed said.

"The delivery of person-centred, accessible and cost-effective care is of paramount importance when it comes to delivering the right care in the right place.

"We are committed to an approach that involves the whole mental health system, including acute care provided by Hospital and Health Services, general practice, private hospitals, mental health clinicians, allied health and digital mental health services.

"We look forward to continuing the development of local services and building bridges to connect all facets of mental health treatment and support.”

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