Karen Bailey at the opening of the mental health halfway house in Elliott Heads Road.
Karen Bailey at the opening of the mental health halfway house in Elliott Heads Road. Mike Knott

House of recovery for mentally ill

A HOUSE with the potential to save and shape lives was opened on Elliott Heads Road yesterday.

The new house will be the sixth of its kind in the region, operated by Hart’s Accommodation Services, a group that provides stable accommodation for people recovering from a mental illness.

Director Karen Bailey said recovering mental health patients often found it difficult to find a place to live due to a lack of housing and their lack of ability to “get into that race”.

“The stigma and ignorance from the community is a great fear for people with a mental illness,” Ms Bailey said.

Almost 150 people have been through the Hart’s system in the past seven years, with many success stories.

One client is starting his third year studying medicine in Melbourne, others are also studying or have undertaken a trade.

The house was donated by Bundaberg Health Promotions and the land by a donor close to the organisation who wished to remain anonymous.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville officially opened the home.

“I think all too readily we talk about mental health and people who are recovering from a mental illness but when it comes to doing something substantial and practical, we always seem to find reasons we shouldn’t do it,” Mr Neville said.

“It’s not as if people oppose it, but they just don’t get the firepower and do it.”

Mr Neville said many people had the wrong impression about people with a mental illness.

“People who live in these facilities are not institutionalised — this is a pleasant social environment,” he said.

“They say the test of a community is how well they look after their young and old people... another test should be how they support their vulnerable.”



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