New $460 million mental health facility for Westmead

“The installation can be a test of whether someone can live independently… while older installations don’t have these capabilities,” Brakoulias said.

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“We want to show people that there is a world outside the walls of the hospital and we want to equip it 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 people with eating disorders), sub and non-acute beds, outpatient and outpatient services and educational facilities.

“Not just in western Sydney, but across the state, we’ve seen an increase in youth self-harming submissions,” Brakoulias said.

Teenagers reported 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 warn about the lingering impacts of the pandemic, particularly in communities that were under the strictest lockdowns.

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Last month, a 30-bed mental health facility opened at Blacktown Hospital, following the closure of its separate mental health facility, Bungarribee House.

Brakoulias said locating mental health facilities within hospitals would lead to better care.

“We also think this can reduce stigma – people are being treated as if they had been admitted to any other part of the hospital.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said people receiving mental health treatment can more easily access care for other conditions at the new facility.

“Many people living with complex mental health conditions are also living with physical health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Co-locating 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.

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