Town rocked by suicide crisis after funeral wake deaths
AN experienced social worker has been flown into Kowanyama to help a community in the grip of a "mental health crisis".
The Weekend Post on Saturday reported concerns by community leaders about youth mental health, including suicide attempts.
The Aboriginal Shire of Kowanyama is located on western Cape York Peninsula.
The "mental health crisis", as it was described by the community's mayor, was reportedly sparked by a public tragedy in October when a car rammed into a house full of mourners, resulting in one death and 25 people being seriously injured.
Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Michael Yam pleaded for government help to help the situation, highlighted with the suicide of a 23-year-old man last week.
Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service chief executive Michel Lok said an extra social worker, who was "well known to the community", would provide on-the-ground support in the town this week.
The social worker is in addition to a mental health clinical nurse consultant who travels to Kowanyama weekly for four-day visits.
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Mr Lok welcomed Health Minister Cameron Dick's commitment in the Weekend Post to push for a joint review with the Federal Government into health services in the town.
He said there were myriad services already in Kowanyama being delivered by the State Government, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Aboriginal health organisation Apunipima.
"There is a lot of collaboration ... the question is, do we have a gap," Mr Lok said.
"The mayor thinks there is.
"That's what the review should look at - what's on the ground."