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Construction set to begin on Mandurah’s new youth health facility

This was a BaxterLawley report led by Scott Bywaters. Originally published by Nathan Hondroson 9 October 2017 in Mandurah Mail.

The ground has been broken at the site of the new $9.2 million Peel Youth Medical Service’s (PYMS) Youth Health Hub, with construction expected to begin within weeks.

At a ceremony on Friday staff from non-profit GP down south, which is behind the project, and guests of the federal, state and local government turned the sod at the site on Allnut Street, adjacent Mandurah Bowling and Recreation Club.

The Australian-first youth health service, which has been planned in Mandurah as a response to community concerns about youth suicide and drug abuse,will be a one-stop shop for young people seeking medical and mental health treatment.

PYMS doctor Rupert Backhouse said the health hub, when it is up and running, will give the region’s youth a single door to walk through to find help.

“There’ll always be an open door and the idea is that no one will leave feeling disappointed or lost,” he said.

“They don’t have to worry about which service to access, they can just go go through the door and be helped to work out what it is they really want at the time without having to go to multiple agencies in different locations.

“If kids come from a poor background, or if they’ve had school issues and the first thing they are presented with is a form to fill out, then they think, ‘too hard, don’t care’, and just return to their dysfunctional life.”

All of the services for young people currently located in Mandurah would be brought together in the new building under the plan, including doctors, nurse practitioners, youth case workers, drug and alcohol counsellors, sexual assault counsellors and family support services.

GP down south’s Amanda Poller said the PYMS facility currently in the Billy Dower Youth Centre was operating at full capacity.

“[The Peel Youth Health Hub] is a coordinated response to the health issues that are impacting the young people in this area, including mental health, suicide, alcohol, and drugs,” she said.

“Many of the young people we see have complex health needs and up to 35 per cent of the people we see present with mental health conditions.”

Canning MP Andrew Hastie said the construction of the facility was an example of what could be achieved when all three tiers of government worked together.

“It was in April 2016, last year, when we we decided to come together and go up to the city and meet with the Prime Minister personally and put the case forward for funding for PYMS,” he said.

“I tell you what, there’s nothing more powerful than three tiers of government with different political stripes all working together towards a common objective,” he said.

Mandurah MP David Templeman said the health hub had been financially supported by the state government and Lotterwest.

“This is a demonstration that we’re always at our best when we do things together,” he said.

“Whether it’s across government, whether it’s across community, whether it’s across agencies, we are always the best when we do things together.”