“The facility can be a test of whether someone can live independently…while older facilities don’t have those capabilities,” Brakoulias said.
“We want to show people that there is a world outside of hospital walls, and we want to equip you to be in the community.”
The new campus will include an acute mental health assessment unit, acute mental health beds (including for youth, adolescents, adults, seniors and those with eating disorders), sub and non-acute beds, outpatient and outpatient departments and educational institutions.
“Not just in Western Sydney, but across the state, we’ve seen an increase in presentations of young people self-harming,” Brakoulias said.
Teenagers presented to NSW hospitals nearly 11,000 times for self-harm and suicidal ideation between January and October 2021, up 41% from the same period in 2019, prompting mental health experts to put warns of the lingering effects of the pandemic, especially on communities that were under the strictest lockdowns.
Last month, a 30-bed mental health unit opened at Blacktown Hospital, following the closure of its separate mental health facility, Bungarribee House.
Brakoulias said locating mental health facilities in hospitals would ultimately lead to better care.
“We also believe it can reduce stigma – people are treated as if they had been admitted to any other part of the hospital.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said people receiving mental health treatment could more easily access care for other conditions at the new facility.
“Many people living with complex mental health issues also live with physical health issues, such as diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Collocating mental health services with Westmead Hospital will maximize opportunities for mental health teams to work alongside other health teams to ensure timely assessment and care planning,” he said. declared.
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