Safe Haven to extend hours in Kununurra to support people with mental health challenges

  • The Kununurra Safe Haven is an important service to provide support for people experiencing mental health distress
  • The Safe Haven at Kununurra District Hospital will extend hours to support more people experiencing mental health distress.

    The official name for the Kununurra Safe Haven is Safe Place: Dawanga boothalenga-woorr nganjileg-gerring, which means a place for those who are sad/frustrated to become happy/relaxed.

    The McGowan Government provided $700,000 to the Mental Health Commission for the funding of two Safe Havens in Western Australia. The Kununurra and Royal Perth Hospital Safe Havens are working alongside emergency departments after-hours facilities and are for people experiencing mental health distress.

    The services offer lived-experienced peer-based support for people who might otherwise attend busy and stressful emergency departments, but do not need intensive clinical and medical support.

    Safe Havens are comforting, private and culturally safe environments where people can receive early intervention, distress management and problem-solving support from both lived-experience peers and mental health professionals.

    The Kununurra Safe Haven opened in late February 2021, initially for two days per week but has now increased to four days per week – Wednesday to Saturday from 4.30pm to 10pm.

    Since February 2021, approximately 70 people have benefited from the service with demand exceeding expectations.  

    Providing alternatives to emergency departments for people with mental health, alcohol and other drug issues is a key priority area identified in the government’s State Priorities 2020-2024.

    As stated by Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson:

    “The Kununurra Safe Haven highlights the McGowan Government’s prioritisation of person-centred, high-quality mental health care across Western Australia.

    “Safe Havens are doing a fantastic job of providing calming, supportive spaces for those experiencing mental health distress.

    “The Kununurra Safe Haven is staffed by mental health professionals and peer workers who have lived experience of either mental illness or caring for someone with mental illness, to enhance support and connection for those who need it.

    “This model of mental health care has been proven to be effective globally, and these expanded services will help Western Australia meet the increasing demand on our mental health services.”

    As stated by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna:

    “This fantastic Safe Haven service is already an asset to the people of Kununurra and I’m sure the extended hours will be welcomed by the community.

    “I’m proud to be part of a government that delivers culturally appropriate, mental health and other drug services to the regions.”

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