GP down south's mental health program receives support

Local group GP down south has received support from a new charitable organisation to help roll out its Youth Mental Health Program.

GP down south, which has offices in Mandurah and Bunbury, has been trying to get the three-tiered program off the ground for more than a year.

The program, which aims to tackle suicide rates in the Peel region by providing school workshops and counselling to local youths, will cost about $300,000 to run.

Former AFL star Heath Black has so far spearheaded the campaign, delivering two presentations to about 500 Peel students.

But with funding still being sought, new organisation STEP Mandurah Charities Incorporated (STEP MCI) has stepped in to help fundraise.

STEP MCI is a joint initiative between Mandurah locals Dave Schumacher and Paul Turner and includes 18 board members from the community.

Councillor Schumacher said STEP MCI would officially launch on October 31, with the aim of providing fundraising and practical support to local organisations.

“We decided to start STEP MCI to make a difference in the community,” he said.

“This is about changing the lives of our kids today to make Mandurah a better place.

“I went to the first Youth Mental Health Program seminar last year where Heath Black spoke to about 450 kids and I thought it was absolutely dead set brilliant.

“The questions the kids were asking were great and normally wouldn’t be asked, and there’s a massive need for mental health programs in our schools.

“We know what we want to raise and intend to raise.”

GP down south executive Amanda Poller said the group had so far been unsuccessful in applying for mental health funding from the State Government, and had been advised by Mental Health Minister Helen Morton to apply for an upcoming round of Royalties for Regions funds.