Government

New Medicare mental outpatient facility opens in Elizabeth, offering free, walk-in mental health services

Elizabeth residents will receive a major boost in mental health support with the opening of a new Medicare Mental Health Centre, offering free, immediate care and a soon-to-open $20.9 million Crisis Stabilisation Centre.

This week, a major initiative for mental health services kicked off in Elizabeth, with the opening of a new Medicare Mental Health Centre. This development is part of a broader national program launched by the Albanese Government, which sees a nationwide rollout of 61 Medicare Mental Health Centres aimed at enhancing accessibility to psychological and psychiatric care.

The Elizabeth centre is strategically positioned to serve the considerable needs of Adelaide’s northern suburbs, providing vital mental health services free of charge. It boasts the unique advantage of offering support without the need for appointments or referrals. Available throughout the week and accessible over extended hours, this facility is designed to provide immediate, on-the-spot care and assistance.

In tandem with this new facility, the Elizabeth community will soon receive further support from a 16-bed, $20.9 million Crisis Stabilisation Centre. Financed by the South Australian Government, this centre will cater to individuals requiring short-term crisis intervention, offering stays of up to three nights aimed at stabilizing those in acute distress.

The Crisis Stabilisation Centre, to be co-located with the new Medicare facility upon the completion of a permanent site adjacent to the Lyell McEwin Hospital, will feature specialised areas for counseling, family gatherings, and various therapeutic activities. Both facilities are destined to operate conjointly to provide a comprehensive mental health care system, easing the burden on emergency services and creating a more suitable setting for those battling mental health difficulties.

Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care, spoke about the commitment of the federal government in strengthening mental health care under the Medicare umbrella, with almost $30 million earmarked in this year’s Budget to develop these centres. Butler said “People in the northern suburbs deserve mental health care closer to home and our Government is committed to providing better access to that crucial care and support.

The interim arrangement of the Medicare Mental Health Centre in Elizabeth is set to segue into a permanent establishment, in a collaborative effort between federal and state governments.

Public consultation for the construction and operational modalities of these centres remains open until 26 June 2024, with construction projected to commence later in the year. This welcomes public input to refine the services offered, ensuring they are finely attuned to the community’s needs.

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