Wilson to launch at Heathcote

Photo PlaceINDEPENDENT mental health advocate Keith Wilson will launch his election campaign at Heathcote—a former mental hospital—in Applecross on Tuesday.

Psychiatrist Pat McGorry, Australian of the year for 2010, will be at the media launch of Dr Wilson’s single-issue campaign.

Dr Wilson, a former WA health minister and national mental health council chairman, is running for a South Metropolitan upper house seat, saying WA needs an independent voice on mental health in state parliament.

He wants the next government focused on mental health reform for the next four years, and proposes a new mental health department with its own director-general and specialist clinics to avoid admissions to general hospital emergency departments.

His call follows a spate of suicides at Alma Street’s psychiatric clinic, which opened after Heathcote closed in 1994, and inquiries into mental health in WA by the state coroner and health department.

“My first aim is to get all the votes I can to show the major political parties that when given the chance to do so, the electors in the south metro region will cast their vote on this issue,” he said in a group email to supporters.

“People can still vote for the political party of choice on the lower house voting paper but on this occasion can cast a conscience vote on the single issue of mental health to place the issue at the top for effective action by the next state government.”

Dr Wilson says up to half the population is affected directly or indirectly, as family and friends, by severe mental illness.


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