Plenty of mental health services, just ask

Mental health expert David Meldrum during his visit to Albury. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK
Mental health expert David Meldrum during his visit to Albury. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

THERE are plenty of mental health services available on the Border — people just need to ask about them.

That’s the situation according to prominent mental health advocate David Meldrum, who hosted a two-day event in Albury on Wednesday and yesterday.

Mr Meldrum, the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia executive director, spoke of the importance of the Hume Partners in Recovery program, which acts as a middleman for those seeking help.

“There is help out there, lots of help,” he said.

“There are many fine services in the area and people ask why they didn’t know they were available and say they’ve been struggling on their own for years.

“Well, go ask.”

Partners in Recovery, which focuses on those people with the most severe and persistent mental health issues, links several services together.

“It’s not their job to do the work, it’s their job to find out what resources are available that can come together to make an effective team for an individual,” Mr Meldrum said.

“There would be 19,000 people country-wide who would have those most severe mental health issues, and at a guess about 300 to 400 people in the Hume region.

“But a lot of people fly under the radar.

“They tend to have an experience with an emergency department or a psych ward and decide it’s not for them and then try to live independently, or their families try to cope, often without medication.

“It takes a fair bit of convincing for them to have a look at what might be possible, what might work better.”

Mr Meldrum met with mental health providers, carers and sufferers on Wednesday and yesterday.

He said problems that were easy to solve while healthy were almost impossible to deal with when illness hits.

Individuals and carers can contact Hume Partners in Recovery by phoning (02) 6041 0020.