CONSTRUCTION is now underway on a new Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) centre in Traralgon.

A key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, the referral-based service will aim to deliver around-the- clock care and support to young people aged 16-25 experiencing mental health challenges or psychological distress, once it opens in 2025.

The Traralgon facility will join a network of YPARC services across the state; operating as a referral-based service, it will allow young people to continue attending work or school, while receiving the appropriate treatment, care and support they need in a safe, home-like environment.

The centre’s design draws on the insights and experiences of clinicians, carers and young people with lived and living experience of mental health challenges – carefully considered reflect a safe, calming, and home-like environment for people on their recovery journey.

Complete with 10 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, it will also include a communal kitchen, dining and living areas, and outdoor areas, providing plenty of room for leisure, recreational activities and visits from loved ones, as well as space for group activities and tailored one-to-one support.

Serving as a community-based treatment option for those in the early stages of recovery, it will also help to reduce pressure on local hospitals with early intervention care for those who are unwell, acting as an alternative to acute hospital admission.

The project is being delivered by the Victorian Health Building Authority in partnership with Latrobe Regional Health and builder McCorkell Constructions.

The Traralgon centre is part of a $141 million state government investment to double the capacity of the YPARC service network across Victoria, including new YPARCs in Ballarat, Geelong, Heidelberg and Shepparton and upgrades to existing centres in Bendigo, Dandenong and Frankston.

The Minister for Mental Health, Ingrid Stitt, said “the Royal Commission highlighted the need for more youth mental health services”.

“This new YPARC in Traralgon will deliver this – giving more young people access to treatment and care close to their family and loved ones,” she said.

The Minister for Health Infrastructure, Mary-Anne Thomas said the centre would provide better access to support for young people in the regions who traditionally had to travel long distance for appropriate care.

The Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, said recovery environment is critical to a person’s mental health journey.

“This service will deliver a supportive and home-like space for vulnerable young people across the Latrobe Valley when they need it most,” she said.