Youth mental health care close to home

(Supplied) 217942_01

Ash Bolt

More young people will have access to mental health services they need, with Barwon Health set to run a new 10-bed Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) facility in Geelong.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced last week the state government would build five new residential facilities across the state, including one in Geelong, that provided around-the-clock clinical care on a short-to-medium basis for people aged between 16 to 25 dealing with mental health concerns.

The facilities were a key recommendation and immediate priority identified by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Mr Andrews said the sites reduced pressure on hospital beds by providing early intervention care and an alternative to hospital admission with recovery-focused treatment.

“We’re not wasting a moment delivering the Royal Commission’s key recommendations and we’re giving young Victorians across the state support and care when they need it the most,” he said.

The facility will be designed by NTC Architects to create a home-like environment with private bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, communal kitchens, dining and living areas, breakout spaces and an outdoor garden, to support family visits for people during their recovery.

The facility will begin construction next year and be operational in late 2023.

Barwon Health mental health, drugs and alcohol clinical director associate professor Steve Moylan said Barwon Health was “excited” by the announcement.

“The Youth PARC will be incorporated into our existing mental health service provision options, forming an important and new option for young people experiencing mental health issues to receive care in a new, purpose built environment close to home,” he said.

“There continues to be strong demand for mental health services in our region across all ages, including young people.

“We are optimistic that care for young people will continue to improve in the coming years, thanks to the significant investment in new and expanded services in the Geelong region, and the ongoing commitment of all mental health service providers to work together with our community to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Geelong MP Christine Couzens welcomed the announcement which would allow “more young people in Geelong [to] get the right treatment and care close to their family, support networks and local community”.