April 17, 2021
HEALTH AGENCIES CALL FOR A “FAIR GO”
Warrnambool health agencies and police are joining forces to call for a fair go for people challenged by mental health and alcohol and other drug issues, especially since COVID-19.
WRAD, South West Healthcare, Brophy Family and Youth Services and Warrnambool Police say that treatment works and people should be supported and encouraged to access local services.
The agencies fear some people may avoid asking for help because of stigma but when they do, they can find a pathway to recovery.
WRAD operations manager Mark Powell said people with problems related to their use of substances and mental health issues deserve a “fair go” and a hopeful and welcoming treatment response.
“Too often the person using substances is judged harshly rather than given a chance to be heard,” Mr Powell said. “Drugs are only a small part of the picture as these clients often have emotional, psychological, mental health and homelessness and employment issues.
“There are many reasons why people avoid seeking help and see themselves as unworthy of support. We need to tackle stigma and support people who are struggling in our community.”
Mr Powell said treatment works and there are pathways to recovery for people. “But that can only happen when a person believes in themselves and that change is possible. Negative portrayals of people who use substances do not help that process.”
He added that local services are working together to achieve positive outcomes for clients and families and the community.
“South West Healthcare is committed to supporting the health needs of the people in the local community,” Mr Fraser said.
“The last 12 months have been especially difficult for people who present with mental health, alcohol and drugs and psychological issues. South West Healthcare is part of the local service system dedicated to assisting those struggling and in need of treatment.”
Brophy Family and Youth Services CEO Francis Broekman said a problem shared is a problem halved and people dealing with AOD and mental health issues benefit from professional expertise.
“While you may feel it’s very personal for yourself, many others face the same issues and professionals see these patterns and work through treatment in a way that’s positive and will work,” Mr Broekman said.
“All of us may feel vulnerable at some point in our lives and it’s important to know we can seek services without any sense of being stigmatised,” he added.
Senior Sergeant Shane Keogh of Warrnambool Police said treatment programs worked and people should act before it’s too late.
“If people drink, smoke cigarettes or use other drugs and need to give up, it helps if they get support,” he said.
“If you want to give it up, the support is out there to help and it works.”
Senior Sergeant Keogh said there was nothing wrong with asking for help. “From a policing perspective, we ask people to take the opportunity to get those supports. If you’re genuine about wanting help, don’t wait for it to become a criminal matter.”
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The WRAD Centre’s vision is to advance the health and wellbeing of those in the South Western Region of Victoria affected by Addictive behaviours and to promote optimal enjoyment of life.
The WRAD Centre seeks to provide comprehensive, holistic support and treatment to individuals and others affected by addictive behaviors and associated issues.
The philosophy of harm minimisation underpins the delivery of all programs offered by WRAD. This principle recognises that people in our society use both licit and illicit drugs, and that drugs can be used in ways that are more or less harmful to individuals, families and society. Harm minimisation offers a number of options designed to reduce the harm of drug use to the user and society.
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