Off The Street But Little Support For Mentally Ill

27 Jul 2006 archivemedia

People with mental health problems are being placed in residential facilities in the city to get them off the street but are then being left without adequate support, Shaadow Mental Health Minister Michelle Lensink said today

Ms Lensink said “There have been a large number of reports from residents and traders around Hutt Street of people wandering the streets and causing conflict within the community.

“The lack of support from the Rann Government has resulted in numerous incidents where the safety of the public has been compromised. My office has received numerous reports including one that included a man begging on Hutt Street for money to purchase his medication.

“People in need of help have been plucked off the street and placed in residential facilities and Housing Trust homes then left to fend for themselves. They are not receiving the support that is needed to help them integrate into the community.

“There are people who in some cases have some serious issues and may struggle to interact or engage themselves within the community.

“I have also spoken to many traders who have expressed great concern for the safety and welfare of these people. Some of the reports I have received included numerous incidents of fighting in the street and daylight robberies.

“Traders have called my office and said that they feel that they are expected to shut up while the government sweeps up these people and places them in accommodation in a way to better their own image.

“While placing these people in accommodation is a priority, so is helping those displaced with adequate support services. They are being dumped in one area and left with nothing to so during the day other than wander the street. Concerns have also been expressed about the increases in alcohol abuse in the area.

“The police have increased their presence but that is not the solution. The government needs a long term support program in place to resolve these issues.

“The south east city community needs support from the government to deal with the dense amount of residential care and housing trust in the one small area. It’s not surprising that problems have erupted.

“The community deserves genuine support. It should not be left up to shop keepers or residents to diffuse dangerous situations.”