Geraldton has a shortage of beds for mental health patients, and a lack of support when patients are discharged, a nationwide inquiry into mental health services has heard.

The inquiry visited Geraldton for a public hearing, and presiding commissioner Dr Stephen King heard submissions from HelpingMinds, headspace, Elucidate, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Services and one individual.

Dr King said a consistent theme at the session was the lack of key services in Geraldton.

“I’ve got the impression that it’s simply not well done in Geraldton,” he said.

“But a lot of the issues you heard here, they are echoing what we hear in other regional centres.”

Dr King said many deficiencies in rural and regional mental health service related to lack of services, recruitment difficulties, and issues for indigenous Australians.

“Many people in the mental health system are based in the cities and sometimes it is hard for them to relate to issues outside the cities and understand what’s happening in the bush,” he said.

“People outside the cities of Australia are facing significant stresses and the services just aren’t there,” he said.

“Everyone tries hard but the distances, the lack of workforce, the lack of services really matters.”

The Commonwealth Productivity Commission is conducting the inquiry to seek further information and feedback following the release of a draft report on October 31. Public submissions will be accepted until January 23, with the final report due on May 23.

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