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Mental health emergencies in Western Australia

October 8, 2012

Joondalup Health Campus in Western Australia is seeing a surge in patients presenting with serious mental health issues.

A hospital spokesman said:

“… the number of patients with mental health problems presenting for emergency treatment had risen 65 per cent in two years. Staff saw an average of eight patients a day with serious mental illness, a third of which need to be admitted to a mental health unit.

Since the opening of its expanded mental health unit and new emergency department, there had been significant increases in the number of patients with mental health problems.”

Treatment for serious mental health issues in an emergency setting is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.  While there will always be people who suffer an acute mental health crisis, in the same way that there will always be people who need to visit an emergency department because of car accidents and various physical mishaps, we can be doing more to prevent little problems becoming big ones.

A serious mental health crisis doesn’t just happen.  It is the response to a series of accumulated stress factors that have built up, sometimes over years.

The value of talking about your problems cannot be overstated.  The RUOK Day website provides a number of suggestions for how you can speak up if you’re not sure how to.

There are many options available to you, including crisis lines, your GP, a trusted friend or family member, and making an appointment to see a psychologist or counsellor.

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