Mental health a focus of visit

April 12, 2017

Informative tour: Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Emma Kealy was in Cobram on Thursday with Tim McCurdy.

Mental health, services for seniors and business concerns were discussed in a tour of the region last week.

Victorian Mental Health, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Shadow Minister Emma Kealy was in the region with State Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy to meet with businesses and people in the community, and discussed issues with consumer affairs in Moira, the Men’s Shed at Myrtleford and mental health at Yarrawonga.

She also visited Odyssey House in Molyullah as part of discussions about drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in regional Victoria.

‘‘As soon as you walk through the doors (at Odyssey), there’s a great feeling,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s safe, secure and it’s respectful, people are committed to their detox. It’s not like the prison some might think it would be.’’

An application for a residential rehab facility at Brookfield near Numurkah is currently before the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal after the proposal was knocked back by Moira Shire Council.

‘‘We know there’s up to a six-month wait for a bed and that’s opportunities that can’t be missed when people want to get into rehab,’’ Ms Kealy said.

‘‘We had funding for three residential rehab services when we were in government, but the Andrews Government stripped that when they came in.’’

She said senior residents were an important part of the community who needed to be supported.

‘‘There are challenges around social isolation, we must make sure that our responsibilities with older people continues to be a part of the conversation,’’ she said.

‘‘Older residents have so much experience and knowledge and we need to work with them to use that in the community.’’

Ms Kealy said it was also important to continue working with communities to highlight mental health issues.

‘‘We need to continue to work to break down stereotypes and working to offer support, to encourage people to ask if others are okay and to support them if they say they aren’t.’’

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