Peel Health Hub 'under the pump' with Mandurah mental health issues at all-time high

With the number of Mandurah residents presenting to emergency departments for self-harm and mental health reasons at an all-time high, Peel's landmark clinic helping young people is feeling the pressure.

Department of Health statistics provided to the Mandurah Mail show the total number of self-harm related ED attendances of Mandurah residents has increased from 294 presentations in 2013 to 455 attendances in 2018.

Between 2013 and July 2019, the age group with the most ED presentations for self-harm related reasons was children and teenagers between 10 and 19.

Peel Youth Medical Service (PYMS) spokeswoman Eleanor Britton said the number of appointments made at the not-for-profit had doubled since it joined other health service organisations at the Peel Health Hub in November 2018.

We're completely 100 per cent occupied - the whole hub is absolutely flat out.

Peel Youth Medical Service spokeswoman Eleanor Britton

Ms Britton said PYMS assisted young people between 12 and 25 years old with complex problems including drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

"What's alarming is mental health presentations have increased from 40 per cent to 80 per cent of our clientele," she said.

"Of the 80 per cent presenting with mental health issues, we estimate that 20 per cent of those have a self-harm component - it's pretty major."

What's alarming is mental health presentations have increased from 40 per cent to 80 per cent of our clientele.

Peel Youth Medical Service spokeswoman Eleanor Britton

Ms Britton said the success of the Peel Health Hub model, an Australian-first offering nine service providers under one roof on Alnutt Street in Mandurah, had contributed to the growing pains.

"We're a victim of our own success at the moment," she said.

"We're completely 100 per cent occupied - the whole hub is absolutely flat out.

"Every service in the building has experienced a significant growth (in clients) since opening here.

If someone has the courage to come to the door and ask for help, we need to be able to give them help at that time.

Peel Youth Medical Service spokeswoman Eleanor Britton

"People walking in without appointments is increasing every week.

"We estimate 50 per cent of our walk-in clients would have ended up at the Peel Health Campus if we weren't here, which is a massive burden we're reducing on the ED.

"We're doing a lot of that early intervention and prevention that is so important in the health system, but we can't do everything.

"We're really under the pump and short on clinical capacity."

Ms Britton said additional funding was needed to help young people struggling to navigate the health system, which is what the hub promised to offer.

"If someone has the courage to come to the door and ask for help, we need to be able to give them help at that time.

"We are incredibly appreciative of all the funding we have had in building the health hub, but now we need some funding in the work we are doing and the delivery of service."

This could be achieved by hiring coordinators to assess walk ins, Ms Britton said, so young people were not falling through the cracks.

"Rather then sending people away, we have clinicians rotating on a roster in this role at the moment doing above and beyond their job," she said.

"A new coordination group would be the glue that is going to hold the model of care together and ensure everyone gets seen."

Ms Britton said PYMS also "desperately" needed youth-friendly GPs to fill open vacancies.

Ms Britton said she had spoken to Mandurah MP David Templeman, WA Health Minister Roger Cook and Shadow Health Minister Zak Kirkup about the issues and they had all been supportive.

"It's just a matter of finding exactly where the dollars are going to come from," she said.

If your life is in danger call 000. For crisis support or suicide prevention call 13 11 14. To get in touch with the Peel Health Hub call 9583 5435.