Steve Cansdell at his home
Steve Cansdell at his home Adam Hourigan

Cansdell fights for mental health necessity

AS Member for Clarence Chris Gulatpis tries to secure community and government support for an upgrade of Grafton base Hospital, Shooters Farmers and Fishers party candidate Steve Cansdell is calling for the government to include a mental health unit in their plans.

"I'm calling on the NSW Government to include an inpatient facility for voluntary mental health patients within the proposed upgrade plans for Grafton Base Hospital.” Said Mr Cansdell.

"The fact that our kids, neighbours and friends have to be sent out of the valley for treatment is a disgrace. We need to keep our friends and family here to give them the love and support they require while going through such difficult times”

Mr Cansdell's plan includes a 10 bed, self-admission unit, which according to the candidate, will fill the gap made by the lack of mental health unit in the Clarence Valley.

Currently, anyone requiring hospitalisation, whether voluntary or involuntary, are transferred by police or ambulance to Lismore Base Hospital.

"When Kempsey District Hospital got a mental health unit the benefits to the community were huge,” he said.

"There was an immediate increase in people receiving treatment, the fear of being taken away from their friends and family was eliminated. The recovery rates increased as people were now able to stay within their own community with all of the support that offers. There are now increased employment opportunities for health care professionals like specialist nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and doctors.”

"The State Government already acknowledge that having a local mental health unit has many benefits and positive outcomes for the community, such as more people seeking help because they have less fear and anxiety over having to leave the area for treatment.

"Due to a lack of public transport facilities, access to family members who are transported out of town is extremely difficult for a lot of families. Without the support of a caring family, treatment can be prolonged.

"Within the indigenous community, being taken out of town for treatment is still seen in the light of the Stolen Generations, with the same ramifications. We need a local Mental Health Unit to keep our families together.

"This should be a priority, if I'm elected as Member for Clarence, I will fight for this whether it be with a Labor or Coalition Government. I will be the powerful voice the Clarence and Richmond valleys need in Parliament.”