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Facility fills mental health void

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser
Rebecca Lolley, Benita Cattalini and Emma Blackwell.
Camera IconRebecca Lolley, Benita Cattalini and Emma Blackwell. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A short-stay mental health facility is proving to be a game changer for Albany.

Step Up/Step Down, a six-bed facility, has been operating since October, providing an opportunity for people to access mental health support in Albany.

Patients can access the service through GP referral and can stay for up to 30 days.

Service manager Benita Catta-lini said patients lived at the clinic while undertaking therapy including relationship-building, art programs and exercise.

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“It’s going really good — we are up to about 64 per cent of occupancy as per our last report and that’s steadily increasing,” she said.

“It takes a while for people to understand what part of the jigsaw we are. This is definitely something that was missing in Albany.

“There is no sub-acute care environment to prevent people from going into hospital or for transitioning back home again and back into the community, so this is really important.”

The facility, the first of its kind in regional WA, offers step-up support for people at risk of being admitted to hospital, or a step down in support for people leaving hospital who need extra support before retuning to the community.

Ms Cattalini said results from the patient assessments proved the facility was successful.

“It’s showing huge success ... nobody wants to go into a ward but the gap between that and what your options are is limited, so this can provide the opportunity to avoid going to the hospital,” she said. The facility offers 24-hour support to people aged 16-65 who are experiencing mental health challenges.

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