Youth mental health facility based at LRH

Alyssa Fritzlaff

LATROBE Regional Hospital (LRH) has received funding for a new mental health facility.
The state government has invested $141 million into building five new Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) centres across the state.
“We know how much better people’s health outcomes are when they get treatment and care close to their family, support networks and local community – so we’re delivering youth mental health facilities right across Victoria,” Mental Health Minister James Merlino said.
YPARC centres cater to young people aged 16 to 25, and are intended to reduce pressure on hospital beds through enabling early intervention care and an alternative to hospital admission with recovery focused treatment.
The funding is particularly focused on regional areas in a bid to allow young people access to mental health care closer to home.
LRH chief executive officer Don McRae said the facility will support mental health and wellbeing of young people in the region.
“This means that they (youth) will be able to stay in the region, closer to their families and their networks,” he said.
Mr McRae said it is not yet confirmed where the facility will be erected, however a number of different locations are being explored at the moment.
The YPARC centre will take pressure of other areas of LRH, he said.
“It certainly will take pressure off the emergency department in particular, but also the Flynn Unit as well. We have limited facilities for youth in the Flynn Unit at the moment,” he said.
Other areas to receive a new YPARC centre are Ballarat, Geelong, Heidelberg and Traralgon, while funding has also been supplied to refurbish existing centres in Bendigo, Dandenong and Frankston.
Through these centres, around-the-clock clinical care on a short to medium term basis is provided.
The YPARC centres are designed to create a “welcoming and home-like environment”, and
will include private bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, communal kitchens, dining and living areas.
There will also be outdoor gardens and breakout spaces to “encourage rest and recovery,” these spaces are also intended to support family visits during recovery.
This funding is in line with the key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health system.
“We’re not wasting a moment delivering the Royal Commission’s key recommendations – and we’re giving young Victorians across the state support and care when they need it the most,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
According to the government, these new centres will support approximately 400 local jobs across the state. Construction is set to begin on all new sites next year, with completion set for late 2023.