Residents in fear after attack outside health facility

BEHIND closed doors, your neighbour could suffer from a mental health disorder.

That's the message Dr Louise Byrne is trying to get across to residents concerned about the new Rockhampton Community Care Unit (CCU) in Richardson Rd, after an ugly incident late last week outside the facility which accommodates people with mental health issues trying to rebuild their lives.

The CQUniversity lived experience academic in mental health said facilities such as the CCU were vital considering the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that nearly 50% of all Australians had a significant mental health breakdown in their life.

"If people don't have the CCU available, they have no support or supervision," Dr Byrne said.

"They could live in any house, in any street in Rockhampton. Everyone has people with mental health issues living in houses and streets around them.

"I can understand the concerns but it's far more concerning to think people with mental health issues are living alone with no supervision or support."

Dr Byrne's comments come after a Norman Gardens' resident raised concerns over the effect the facility was having on the community.

The resident, who did not want to be identified, claimed her young children had recently witnessed a concerning incident outside the CCU.

"My six and four-year-old daughters witnessed a female being savagely beaten by a man in front of this establishment," the resident said.

"The man then ran off while the woman accused him of being a 'kiddie fiddler' amongst other obscenities.

"They (my children) are both now terrified the 'bad man' is going to hurt them too. It was reported to police."

The resident said she wasn't the only one concerned about the CCU.

"This establishment was not wanted by the local residents as we held great concerns for the personal safety of our families as many of us... have young families," the resident said.

"We were assured that the clients at this facility were not a danger to the community and that this facility would not have a negative impact on our tight-knit neighbourhood."

CQ Hospital and Health Service executive director rural and district-wide services Michele Gardner said the incident did not involve CCU residents.

"We are aware of an incident outside the CCU complex on Friday afternoon," Ms Gardner said. "This did not involve our residents. Staff called our security firm and police to report the incident.

"We take security very seriously and are disappointed this has happened near our facility.

"This is a valuable new resource for our community and we want to work with our neighbours to ensure it provides the best possible outcomes for all involved."



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