Health group seeks mental health stories of public

ACTION is being taken to narrow the gap between the demand and supply of local mental health services in the Wide Bay.

Health industry leaders from around the region gathered on Friday to identify service gaps and opportunities in the areas of mental health, alcohol and drug services.

The new initiative, known as the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Collaborative, is a joined project between the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) and the PHN.

It aims to address Wide Bay's high rates of depression, psychological distress and suicide.

At the meeting, WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington provided an overview of federal, state and local needs and priorities.

The group then began work on the creation of an action plan addressing everything from specific areas of need, to developing mental health workers of the future.

WBHHS Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Services executive director Robyn Bradley said the group wants to hear the stories of people that have been touched by mental ilness.

She said stories from the public will help create a better understanding of impact.

"It's crucial we hear from members of the community; these are the people at the centre of our planning and nothing informs us better than direct, lived experience," she said.

"It's crucial for us to get this plan right, based on strong evidence and with strong community input, because the mental health of our community depends on it.

"We're also trying to go a step further and look at our workforce.

"If we agree we need to be doing better to meet the mental health needs of our community, part of the solution is developing the right health professionals in the right places - and that means working with educational institutions so we can start growing that future workforce now."

To share stories about your lived experience with mental illness, alcohol or other drugs, call Cherie McGregor on 4196 9800 or email cmcgregor@ourphn.org.au.