Saturday, November 3, 2007


Today was a lovely warm sunny day. I went with some friends (actually we are all committee members of Designing Women and we had a meeting) to Heathcote. We met at the cafe there.

Heathcote is such a beautiful spot - perched high above the Swan River with views to the city and almost to Fremantle. Today the river was crowded with yachts and because the Red Bull air races were on, the sky was almost as full of planes.

There was a wonderful textile art exhibition at the gallery. There were lots of families enjoying the playground and picnic facilities. The restaurant was the venue for a wedding reception - we didn't see the wedding party, but we were treated to the view of numerous very well dressed guests. Everyone on site seemed to be happy.

Heathcote was once a dreaded destination. It was a hospital for patients with psychiatric problems - mostly women. When I was a child, when some one was "sent to Heathcote" it was a shameful thing, talked about in whispers. Today it is recognised that most of the patients were probably suffering depression; in many cases, post natal depression.

Provision of facilities for the treatment of mental illness is presently a political football in this state, and there is no doubt much more needs to be done. But the "good old days" were far from good, and Heathcote is more beneficial now to the mental health of its visitors than it ever was in the past.

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