Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


New mental health centre for children opens, a first in Victoria

10 October 2023

In a Victorian-first, a new family-centred mental health facility for children has officially opened in Melbourne’s north on World Mental Health Day.

Aptly named Booboop Narrkwarren Nagarra-jarra-noun, which means the Family Healing Centre, the State Government funded facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing up to three families to stay onsite at one time, while they receive flexible, family-centred therapy and support from specialist clinicians.

This new centre will provide the right care, in the right format, in the right place for children up to 11 years of age.

Divisional Manager Infant Child and Youth Mental Health, Sue Wells, says this new innovative approach to mental health care will provide better outcomes for our young people.

“Much like the rest of the country, Austin Health has seen an increase in young people requiring support from mental health services following the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities, like this one, where early intervention is the focus are designed to support children and prevent their mental health challenges from escalating and becoming more complex.”

Up to three families can stay onsite where they can access around the clock care and support with, mental health challenges, medication management and issues around family relationships and community supports and connections, school refusal and challenging behaviour.

Responding to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, including redesigning bed-based services for young people, the centre is focused on the needs of children and families who have experienced trauma and require additional support.

"Improving access and care for our community remains our highest priority and this is an exciting opportunity for Austin Health to lead the way in supporting our next generation,” Sue says.

It’s designed to create a safe, welcoming and healing atmosphere for children and their families and features private rooms and shared living spaces including communal kitchen, dining, lounge, laundry and family activity areas, outdoor garden areas, along with clinical consulting areas.

The centre is now accepting referrals from the community and health care providers.