The Peel Youth Medical Service (PYMS) has unveiled plans for an Australian-first youth health service, to be constructed in Mandurah as a response to community concerns about youth suicide and drug abuse.
The $6 million health hub would be the first of its kind in the nation, and provide a one-stop shop for young people seeking medical and mental health treatment.
All of the services for young people currently located in Mandurah would be brought together in the new building under the plan, including doctors, nurse practitioners, youth case workers, drug and alcohol counsellors, sexual assault counsellors and family support services.
The health hub would also home GP down south’s 3-Tier Youth Mental Health Program, which has failed to attract funding from the state government.
GP down south's Mandurah manager Eleanor Britten presented the plans to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last Wednesday at a meeting of local leaders.
“This has the opportunity to create transformational change in this community, to really change things from the ground up,” Ms Britten said.
“We see 400 young people a month at the moment with limited room for expansion due to capacity. The young people we see are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Forty per cent of those we see because of mental health related issues, which all ties into the problem we're having in the community at the moment.”
Originally planned as a comprehensive response to the regional drug abuse problems, the health hub was endorsed by MP Andrew Hastie’s Canning Ice Action Group.
Mr Hastie has been lobbying the Prime Minister and health minister Sussan Ley for the funding required to construct the health hub.
“The PYMS Health Hub is a best practice, GP-centered model of care that will provide a suite of services for 12-24 year olds dealing with drug and alcohol issues, mental health issues, family dysfunction and homelessness,” he said.
“The Peel Youth Medical Service already has a proven track record of youth engagement in the Peel region, but we are seeking federal funding for a new facility that will allow PYMS to expand its services to keep up with the rapid population growth we’ve experienced here in the Peel region.”
Ms Britten said PYMS was in discussion with Curtin University – who are setting up their new medical school – to provide training for medical students at the new centre once complete.