One more gap in region's health services

Another gap in Eyre Peninsula's access to health services - in particular mental health services - has been highlighted, this time by the presiding member of the Mid West Health Advisory Council and Elliston councillor Kym Callaghan.

In today's front page story, Mr Callaghan has spoken out about his concerns about the lack of youth psychologist services on Eyre Peninsula, not only from his perspective on the health advisory council, but also from personal experience.

Unfortunately all too many people on Eyre Peninsula have similar personal experiences to share about themselves, family members or friends who have tried to access the support they need but find where they live to be a major barrier.

People living in regional areas often face geographical barriers to a range of health services but for people seeking mental health services the problem can be compounded if it gets too hard or the wait for help is too long.

The situation is worse for people living in smaller more isolated towns across our region, away from the bigger centres like Port Lincoln and as a media organisation the answers we get to questions about services available and waiting times do not always reflect what we are told by people using the system.

There are certainly some mental health services available on Eyre Peninsula but when health advisory committee members, community organisations like Mentally Fit EP and most importantly people with personal experience are saying more needs to be done to meet the need we have to listen.

It will be interesting to see what comes of Member for Flinders Peter Treloar's meetings in coming weeks.

There will no doubt be many people waiting to hear if these discussions lead to anything concrete for the young people of Eyre Peninsula.

The federal government's commitment to a Headspace centre in Port Lincoln is promising but with a focus more on early intervention services there will still be a need for services such as psychology to support young people already facing mental health challenges.

A sparsely populated region like Eyre Peninsula cannot expect to have professionals in every field in every small town but surely adolescent psychology services - even a visiting psychologist - in Port Lincoln is not too much to ask.