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Mental health spotlight after Bran Nue Dae writer’s death

The death of a celebrated West Australian playwright has prompted a coroner to recommend the government consider creating a long-term supported accommodation facility for mental health patients in the Kimberley region.

James Ronald Chi, who famously wrote the musicals Bran Nue Dae, struggled for years with mental health issues including bipolar affective disorder.

James Ronald Chi, who famously wrote the musicals Bran Nue Dae, struggled for years with mental health issues including bipolar affective disorder.

James Ronald Chi, who famously wrote the musicals Bran Nue Dae and Corrugation Road, was declared a state living treasure in 2004, but struggled for years with mental health issues including bipolar affective disorder.

Mr Chi, 69, was an involuntary patient under the Mental Health Act when he died at Broome Hospital from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary artery atherosclerosis in June 2017.

Coroner Barry King said Mr Chi had smoked tobacco for several decades but was not otherwise known to misuse drugs.

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