In the Pilbara to engage the Aboriginal community, Grace Comeagain and James Kearing are Aboriginal liaison officers for Port Hedland’s first drug-and alcohol rehabilitation centre.
The centre is set to open in mid-2012.
Primarily for indigenous people, the unique nature of the facility is the scope to work with extended family.
“Quite often in a rehabilitation environment people come in on their own and then they go back to what they came from,” project coordinator Judi Bell said.
“With this model, because the extended family travels too, counsellors will have the opportunity to work essentially with the support group for the person who is in recovery.”
When that person leaves, they take with them that support group which gives them a much better chance on exit.
Of the 24 rooms provided, 18 beds will be for recovering patients.
The remaining six will be for their family members.
“This program is put together in a way that is going to make it relevant for indigenous clients,” Ms Bell said.
“That is an option I don’t think people would have if they were taken from the Pilbara and put somewhere else.”
Auspicing agency Roebourne based Yaandina Family Centre is one of several organisations which have been pushing for the facility for about 12 years.
“There is such a desperate need,” project assistant Suzanne Harris said.
“There is a gap in essential rehabilitation services for indigenous people in the Pilbara particularly.”
The centre is funded by the Federal Department of Health and Aboriginal liaison officers Grace Comeagain and James Kearing with a model of the rehabilitation centre.