Mental health advocates new Banksia wishlist

PLANNING STARTS NOW: Helen Mary Jones and Frances Smith were thrilled to hear the city was getting a new mental health facility. Photo: Peter Hardin
PLANNING STARTS NOW: Helen Mary Jones and Frances Smith were thrilled to hear the city was getting a new mental health facility. Photo: Peter Hardin

MENTAL health advocates say a specific section for young people and quiet areas to do tai chi or yoga are at the top of their wish list for the new Banksia Mental Health Unit.

The founder of mental health support group, MindMatters, Helen Mary Jones, said first and foremost, the new facility needed to be an inviting place where people could heal.

“It needs to be an pleasant place for people who are going through a fairly difficult time in their lives,” Ms Jones said.

“I’d like to see an area with a gym or a place where tai chi and yoga can be done, that would be great. Both of those have been found to reduce depression.

“Hopefully they’ll set aside somewhere quiet, a place where they can mediate, sit and read a book or do some craft. There isn’t anything like that currently and people don’t get the quiet space they need to heal.”

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She wants the new Banskia to individually cater to the diverse range of people who deal with mental health problems.

“Ideally, the building will have a section specifically for young people, an area for critical care or higher needs patients, and a section for those not as critical or may have had an issue with their medication,” she said.

“I hope they put a lot of thought in to the unit to make it the best it can be. We can really be the centre point for mental health for this whole region.”

Frances Smith has fought her own battle with mental health and watched others in her family struggle with the black dog.

She was happy to hear the city was getting a new mental health facility, which was “a long time coming”.

However, she hopes that more post-treatment services come with the new Banksia.

“I know one young man who goes in there, everything seems to be fixed up and settled, then he comes out and he ends up back in there,” Ms Smith said.

“It’s just a vicious circle. In one door, out the other and then back in.”

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