A new mental health facility will free up vital acute mental health hospital beds from March

The opening of a new short-term residential mental health facility in Warrnambool will free up vital acute hospital beds from March. 

The Warrnambool Prevention and Recovery Centre (PARC), in Moore Street will provide residential mental health care and support in a home-like environment. 

It is one of many PARCs across the state that provide care and support for people with significant mental health issues at critical times, maximising their potential for personal recovery and wellbeing.  

New facility: Mind Australia service development manager Julie Billett, South West Healthcare mental health services director Karyn Cook,  Mind Australia’s regional Victoria area manager for clinical and primary care services Phil Dunn and SWH mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention and recovery services manager Rochelle Morrison are excited about the centre which opens next month. Picture: Madeleine McNeil

New facility: Mind Australia service development manager Julie Billett, South West Healthcare mental health services director Karyn Cook, Mind Australia’s regional Victoria area manager for clinical and primary care services Phil Dunn and SWH mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention and recovery services manager Rochelle Morrison are excited about the centre which opens next month. Picture: Madeleine McNeil

South West Healthcare has chosen Mind Australia, one of Australia’s leading community-managed specialist mental health service providers, to deliver non-clinical care and support services. 

It is also a boost for local employment with the centre’s opening creating 12 new full-time equivalent positions for social workers, occupational therapists, allied health workers, and other mental health professionals with drug and alcohol credentials.

SWH’s mental health services director Karyn Cook said the centre would help meet demand as the acute mental health beds were “almost always full”.

“We’ve only got 15 acute beds so when people become unwell there’s a real gap between being treated in your home by clinicians who are travelling across the whole region and going into acute and there really wasn’t anything in the middle,” Ms Cook said.  

She said in the past SWH had to “fast track discharges” to free up acute mental health beds or patients were given intensive support in the community, rather than remaining in hospital. At other times, patients have been admitted to the acute hospital or been sent out of the region where “they’re a long way from home and a long way away from their families”.

Ms Cook said it was exciting to be able to provide an alternative treatment option that was recovery based. 

The purpose – built $4.8million state-funded centre has 10 beds and will be open to the public on Wednesday, February 28 from 3pm to 6pm.

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