GREG Aplin says the Border’s young people need better mental health services.
The member for Albury has backed The Border Mail’s campaign on youth suicide, highlighting the lack of psychiatrists in the region and gaps in providing quality intervention services.
Mr Aplin has been campaigning for better services for nine years, the closure of a drop-in centre at community mental health in Albury the catalyst.
“As a member of Parliament I have long been aware of the pressing need for better early intervention services for people dealing with mental health issues,” he said.
“Rotary clubs in Albury and Henty asked me to participate in forums and it was obvious that while we were well served by an acute facility in Nolan House we had significant gaps in providing quality intervention services to offer advice and support.
“There were organisations but there appeared to be either a lack of awareness of these bodies or a reluctance to engage.
“When it came to young people the issues were even greater as there were shortages of public health psychiatrists and for eating disorders there were few treatment centres available at all.”
Sadly, he said, many turned to alcohol and drugs to mask the pain.
“But the evidence from police is that drugs, such as ice, ecstasy and marijuana are increasing the number of people with mental health issues,” he said.
“The impact of drugs was reinforced to me only this week by a mother who told me of her teenage daughter’s suicide brought on by drugs and her desperate fight to save her other children from a similar fate.
“The simple message to get across, particularly to young people, is that you do belong to this community and others do care about you.”
Mr Aplin will host the Suicide Prevention Regional Consultation Forum at Albury Entertainment Centre on August 13.