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2 March 2022
Chief Executive Officer, Adam Horsburgh, and Divisional Director, Mental Health, Hannah Bloom were joined by the Premier and the Minister for Mental Health for a visit to the site of the new Statewide Child and Family Centre in Macleod today.
The Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Minister, James Merlino, spoke to the media alongside former Austin Health patients Carmen and Shaun who shared their experiences being cared for by our Child Youth Mental Health Services (CYMHS).
Dr Leeanne Fisher, Clinical Director, Child & Youth Mental Health Service, said the Victorian-first centre will focus on early intervention.
“We’ve developed a specific Model of Care for the new Statewide Child and Family Centre that will help us to support children up to the age of eleven, and their families,” Dr Fisher said.
“The building has been designed to be like a home and up to three families can stay at any one time to receive 24 hour a day care from specialised child and family mental health carers.
“Improving access to mental health services for young patients means we’re able to intervene earlier and hopefully help to avoid escalating challenges for patients later in their lives,” she said.
Carmen and Shaun are both members of a group called the Superhornets (youth advisor group), which is made up of former Austin Health patients who support others as they go through their mental health journey.
“It’s been a privilege to have input into the design of this new facility,” Shaun said.
“As former patients, we know what younger patients are going through as they try and navigate the mental health system which can be quite confronting at times.
“Speaking to patients and putting them at the centre of the process to develop new services and facilities is the best way to guarantee good outcomes,” he said.
“The lived experience of mental health patients is so important because there is a lot to understand,” Carmen said.
“It’s hard to know what it’s like as a patient unless you’ve been through the system.
“This input is really valuable and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share our experiences to help others,” she said.
Thank you to Shaun and Carmen for their insights and for being so wiling to share their stories as part of today’s event.