Perth to get historic new mental health clinic

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Nearly half of Perth residents do not have direct access to private mental health services – but this will change following the announcement of a new $25 million project by Bethesda Health Care.

The independent group has launched the site of the first private mental health clinic south of the Swan River, to be located in Cockburn Central West.

Construction is due to start in late 2020, with the first patients expected to be admitted in 2022-23.

At present, people must travel to the Perth Central Business District, Nedlands and Wembley – all north of the river, where just over half the city's population lives – to receive private mental health treatment.

“It is well known that Western Australia has a major mental health bed shortage, and this facility will go a long way to assisting to ease the burden,” Bethesda Health Care CEO Dr Neale Fong said.

Use of mental health services in private hospitals has grown 25 percent since 2013, according to the 2019 Australian Burden of Disease Study.

“Mental health and substance abuse disorders represent the fourth-highest burden of disease in Australia, and the highest in young people,” Dr Fong added.

Bethesda's new 'Mental Health System of Care' facility will have 40 overnight beds and employ up to 100 staff, focusing on voluntary adult patient admission and specialist referral.

Its innovations will include new service delivery models using digital health and community-based care including tele-health and video-conferencing.

The project started four years ago, with land contracts now in the final stages of procurement while master planning and concept design are nearing completion.

The 10,000m² site is part of a community wellness hub near the Fremantle Dockers' new training complex and the Cockburn Aquatic Recreation Centre, with public transport links and easy access to the freeway.

Bethesda has been a healthcare provider in Western Australia since 1943, when its flagship hospital opened north of the river in Claremont. In 2010, the group expanded into community care through its mobile palliative consultancy advisory service.

It was named on the shortlist for the consumer partnerships category in the 2020 APHA Awards For Excellence.

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