Mental health services for young people on the Northern Beaches will be boosted by an $11.4m funding injection from the 2022-2023 NSW Budget.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the funding will be used to expand hospital and community services, including establishing acute paediatric specialist mental health beds at Northern Beaches Hospital and supporting local community mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services.

Brad Hazzard

Brad Hazzard

“This significant additional funding for child and youth mental health services on the Beaches will help ensure the appropriate treatment and support is available to young people and their families in a more timely manner.

“This will significantly increase capacity and reduce wait times by enabling a comprehensive child and youth mental health service to operate on the Beaches seven days a week as well as the establishment of a new youth drug and alcohol treatment service,” said Minister Hazzard.

The $11.4m in new funding includes:

  • $7.5m to establish four acute paediatric mental health beds at Northern Beaches Hospital
  • $1.4m for additional staff, including clinicians, for the Northern Beaches Child Youth Mental Health Service in the Brookvale Community Health Centre
  • $1.1m for additional staff, including peer workers and clinicians, to support and operate the Northern Beaches Youth Response Team (YRT) out of Mona Vale Community Health Centre, seven days a week
  • $1m to develop a new youth drug and alcohol community treatment service in Northern Sydney Local Health District, including employing senior medical, nursing and allied health clinicians
  • $365k to provide a full-time child and youth psychiatrist at Northern Beaches Hospital

The Youth Response Team (YRT) is based at Macquarie Hospital at North Ryde and provides outreach services to young people across the region, including the Northern Beaches, which is one of the highest users of the service, comprising around 40 percent of referrals to the outreach service. It has a 97 percent success rate of diverting young people from emergency departments.

NSW Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said youth mental health and suicide prevention is a high priority for the NSW Government as demand for support has been increasing over the past couple of years.

Bronnie Taylor

Bronnie Taylor

“We have seen a significant increase in mental health and self-harm presentations for young people to emergency departments across NSW. In response, the NSW Government has been investing significantly in improving child and youth mental health services and supports to reduce the number of mental health presentations.

“This includes the establishment of 25 ‘Safeguards’ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Response Teams, which will provide rapid, short-term acute care for children and adolescents, a much-needed alternative to hospital and one that will reduce repeated emergency department attendances, with at least one team currently operating in Northern Sydney Local Health District,” said Minister Taylor.

The NSW Government is investing $2.9b to provide mental health services and support for people across the state as part of the 2022-2023 NSW Budget.

The 2022-2023 NSW Budget was announced this week (Tuesday, 21 June) with more than $400m committed to projects on the Northern Beaches.

Image: Northern Beaches Advocate

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