Mental health boost
GEELONG MP Christine Couzens has announced a $16 million mental health hub set to ease the pressure on the region’s emergency department.
The state government is investing in a central community hub to provide mental health as well as drug and alcohol services.
Ms Couzens welcomed the five-storey building set to be located on 181 Moorabool Street after saying the Greater Geelong region needed more facilities to accommodate the region’s mental health and drug and alcohol service needs.
“Part of the system not being “up to scratch” has been accessibility and hours of service,” she said.
“This combined with consumers and referrers’ difficulty in navigating the mental health system has seen many people seeking help through the hospital’s Emergency Department.”
Ms Couzens said the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System revealed services were fragmented making it difficult for people to access the correct services.
“By consolidating services at one site, the hub will make it easier for
consumers to be guided to the right service/s for their mental health needs, and for services to be better co-ordinated,” she said.
“The new hub’s ground floor will provide consumers a welcoming environment in which to seek support and service guidance.
“In addition, health professionals will be able to provide telephone, online, home and outreach services.”
Operated by Barwon Health, the hub will have extended hours including weekends and public holidays.
Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol clinical director associate professor Steve Moylan said the space would be an identifiable place for people throughout the region to seek treatment while easing the pressure on the emergency department.
Barwon Health revealed the hub will be the first of four across the region as part of a broader strategy with two more facilities proposed for the Greater Geelong and Colac regions.
The services will include assessment, navigation, care planning, treatment, wellbeing support and education.
Ms Couzens said the construction of the hub would provide more jobs as work gets underway.
“The building of the hub will provide construction jobs for the region and it will also be expected to provide over 100 mental health jobs in the city on completion,” she said.
“This will be beneficial to traders in central Geelong, and will invigorate this area of the CBD, drawing workers and consumers to the top end of the city, around and south of Ryrie Street.”
Construction is anticipated to be completed by late 2022.