SA mental health commissioner Chris Burns to visit Eyre Peninsula after recent meeting in Adelaide

MENTAL HEALTH MEETING: South Australian mental health commissioner Chris Burns, Hans von Ohle and Tony Wyld during the meeting in Adelaide last month. Picture: Supplied

MENTAL HEALTH MEETING: South Australian mental health commissioner Chris Burns, Hans von Ohle and Tony Wyld during the meeting in Adelaide last month. Picture: Supplied

South Australian mental health commissioner Chris Burns will visit Eyre Peninsula next month after a recent meeting with the Far West Suicide Prevention Network (FWSPN).

Hans von Ohle from FWSPN and Tony Wyld, the network's representative from Wesley Lifeforce, went to Adelaide last month to meet with Mr Burns to discuss a number of issues.

While there they spoke about the lack of services, such as availability of counselling services, for people in the West Coast region who may be struggling with mental health issues like anxiety and depression, or have suicidal thoughts.

Mr von Ohle said he was able to share his own experience with anxiety, depression and a past suicide attempt during the four-hour talk with Mr Burns, who he said was focused on strengthening the mental wellbeing of all South Australians.

"Commissioner Burns is a remarkable man who comes from a military background and is passionate about mental health issues," he said.

"He takes a whole of person, whole of life, whole of community and whole of government approach in his attitude to South Australia's mental health strategic planning."

Mr von Ohle said he hoped the meeting could lead to improvements in services for the West Coast region.

"In my meeting with commissioner Burns we discussed the pitfalls of Ceduna and the West Coast's mental health services and how things need to change for the future wellbeing of our community and its members," he said.

"Although he can't just fix all the problems he is very interested in learning more about the situations we are facing and has accepted an invitation from the Far West Suicide Prevention Network to visit Ceduna in late October and help out where he can.

"I feel commissioner Burns is a genuine person and his visit to Ceduna will be an asset to our community, and nothing but good can come from this."

Mr von Ohle said the aim was for Mr Burns to meet as many service providers as possible during the visit from Port Lincoln and up the coast, to get a better picture of what was needed in the region.