Vulnerable school-aged students suffering mental illness might lose a vital service when its funding dries up next month.
GP Down South, a not-for-profit offering health and wellbeing services throughout the Peel and Warren Blackwood regions, has delivered a trial youth mental health program in the region for three years.
The program offers three levels of support to Year 10 students at six participating schools, including whole-class workshops, group sessions, and one-on-one counselling sessions.
Schools include Manjimup Senior High School, Bridgetown High School, Pemberton District High School, Boyup Brook District High School, Northcliffe District High School and Nannup District High School.
Next month the funding dries up and so far no promise has been made for future funding, according to GP Down South business development and management support coordinator Bonnie Allen.
Initially partly funded by the WA Primary Health Alliance, a spokeswoman said funding ceased in June because the service was “no longer within our scope of activity.”
Ms Allen said she approached the WA Mental Health Commission which funds a similar program it runs in the Peel region.
The commission did not put it forward for funding, Ms Allen said.
“The reasons were around efficacy but it is really hard to collect that data in a prevention program because you don’t know how many kids you’ve saved from suicide,” she said. “But we’ve been getting great statistics in terms of awareness … and 80 to 90 per cent of kids have reported back saying they would help a mate or themselves (if presented with mental health problems).”
Ms Allen said the program was started in the region due to the lack of services.
“I think particularly in country towns and smaller regional areas the funding is not there,” she said.
“There needs to be more surety around funding so service providers on the ground know they can deliver services and not deal with year on year funding.”
Health Minister Roger Cook was contacted for comment.