Arthur Lysaught and Janita Cooper talk at a meeting at the Grafton District Services Club held to discuss what can be done about mental health issues in the Clarence Valley.
Arthur Lysaught and Janita Cooper talk at a meeting at the Grafton District Services Club held to discuss what can be done about mental health issues in the Clarence Valley. Adam Hourigan

Clarence Valley rallies for more mental health services

EMOTION and frustration overflowed in Grafton last night as Clarence Valley residents aired their views on mental health services in the Clarence Valley.

In excess of 100 people attended a meeting called to assess what services were needed in the Valley and how to set about getting them here.

Organiser Janita Coper said she had goosebumps at the number of people who turned out on short notice and spoke passionately about their experiences.

The issue of suicide, particularly among young people, was never far from the surface as experiences with hospitals and mental health programs were shared.

Mark McGrath, the manager of the Healthy Minds program run by CRANES, said the local community needed to come up with the solutions.

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"In the recovery from mental health problems, about 30% of it is attributed to what we call the therapeutic relationships, our medications, our interactions with doctors and clinicians," he said.

"The 70% comes from you people, from community. The solution to this problem we are experiencing is going to come from you.

"I'm hoping that one day we can achieve something that is called a recovery oriented community where people who have contact with young people, who are in mentoring roles, your sports coaches, instructors, friends and family, are able to identify problems in young people and also how to respond to those situations."

While many said not enough services are available in the Clarence, communication about the services that are here clearly emerged as another problem.

Does the Clarence Valley need better mental health services?

This poll ended on 15 March 2016.

Current Results

Yes

98%

No

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

A number of speakers outlined the programs they are involved with, only to be met with responses such as "I didn't know about that" and "how do I get in contact with you".

The meeting took the names of people keen to work towards attracting more and better services and to organise a similar forum that would include more young people.

"I want to have a meeting where the young people can talk about how they are feeling and what they would like to see done, maybe with the older people looking on so they can hear what is being said," Ms Cooper said.



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