Victoria’s capacity to provide round-the-clock care for young people needing mental health support will double, as the government reveals plans for five new facilities.
Located in Ballarat, Geelong, Shepparton, Heidelberg and Traralgon, the state government is investing $141 million to build Youth Prevention and Recovery Care centres, each with 10 beds.
Public healthcare providers in each of the areas, most regionally based, will operate the centres to provide care to about 900 young people each year.
Victorian mental health minister James Merlino said the new facilities followed through on recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
Merlino said throughout the pandemic there was a “significant increase” in emergency department presentations for young people.
“We are now thankfully starting to see a reduction of the peak, and that is a great thing, but this was an analysis of the massive gap in the middle — the missing middle — that the royal commission identified,” he said.
The centres provide a higher level of care than community care, and a facility for young people stepping back into the community after hospital admissions.
The Victorian Health Building Authority will deliver the projects to be completed by late 2023.
The facilities are based on similar prevention and recovery care facilities for adults, which there are 22 of across Victoria and are more “home-like” than hospital environments.
The youth facilities will include communal kitchens, dining and living areas, breakout spaces, an outdoor garden, and areas to support family visits during a young person’s recovery.