Hospital based care 02 March 2022

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System – one year on

Most of us will experience poor mental health or mental illness at some point in our lives — directly or indirectly.

  • Each year, around one in five Victorians will experience mental illness.
  • There are about 60,000 Victorians who care for someone living with mental illness.

A year ago, the final report and recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System were tabled in Parliament.

The Commission set out to redesign Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system to benefit the whole Victorian community. It made 65 recommendations for changes in the final report, in addition to the nine recommendations in the interim report.

Infrastructure response

The Victorian Health Building Authority is delivering a number of dedicated infrastructure projects that respond to key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Many of these projects are being delivered with an engagement process that draws on the insights and experiences of patients, consumers, carers, clinicians and researchers with lived experience of the mental health system.

In the year since the final report was tabled, we’ve made significant progress on a number of key projects highlighted in the report, including:

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Mental Health Beds Expansion Program

We’re urgently delivering 144 new acute public mental health beds in response to the crucial need identified in the Royal Commission.

This $492 million investment will provide 120 hospital-based beds and 24 home-based beds across four health services to address increased demand on our system.

The beds will be spread across Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre (16 beds), Western Health’s Sunshine Hospital (52 beds), the Royal Melbourne Hospital (22 beds) and Northern Health’s Epping campus (30 beds).

Once complete, the new hospital-based beds will provide more than 43,000 days of care, enabling 2,500 more Victorians to access vital mental health services every year.

Read more about the project here.

Mental Health Beds Expansion Program - codesigning facilities

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Thomas Embling Hospital expansion

The $349.6 million upgrade of the Thomas Embling Hospital will transform Victoria’s forensic mental health system and the way forensic mental health services are delivered across the mental health system.

In early 2022 the design team was appointed, Guymer Bailey Architects and Aecom (Engineering), and work has begun developing the detailed designs for the expansion, along with the process to appoint a builder.

Read more about the project here.

Thomas Embling Hospital Expansion - artist impression

Artist impression of Thomas Embling Hospital expansion

Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) centre expansion program

$141 million in funding will double Victoria’s Youth Prevention and Recovery Care (YPARC) service capacity. The expansion will provide greater access to mental health treatment and support for people aged 16-25.

In late 2021 we announced the five new 10-bed YPARC centres will be built in:

  • Greater Ballarat
  • Greater Geelong
  • Greater Shepparton
  • Heidelberg
  • Traralgon

Existing YARC facilities in Bendigo, Frankston and Dandenong will also be refurbished as part of the $141 million investment. 

Once complete, the five new facilities will have the capacity to provide prevention and recovery care services for more than 900 young people each year.

The investment is in addition to a new $11.9 million 20-bed YPARC centre in Parkville. The new facility is expected to open its doors in the coming weeks.

Statewide Child and Family Centre

Designs have been released and construction is underway on Victoria’s first Statewide Child and Family Centre.

The $7.3 million facility will deliver vital residential mental health and wellbeing treatment to children under 11 in an environment that allows them to stay with and be supported by their families. 

Read more about the project here.

Artist impression of Statewide Child and Family Centre

Artist impression of Statewide Child and Family Centre

Read more about additional mental health infrastructure projects:

Construction is well underway on a new Women’s Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) centre in St Albans, the first of its kind in Victoria. 

The design team has been appointed to expand mental health beds at Warrnambool Base Hospital, delivering five more acute mental health beds and redesign to hospital’s acute mental health inpatient unit.

What’s next?

Over the next 12 months we look forward to:

McKellar Centre
McKellar Centre

Completing construction on a 16-bed acute mental health facility in Geelong

Northern Hospital
Northern Hospital

Completing construction on a 30-bed acute mental health facility in Epping

Sunshine Hospital
Sunshine Hospital

Completing construction on a 52-bed acute mental health facility in St Albans

The Royal Melbourne Hospital
The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Construction continuing on a 22-bed acute mental health facility

Prevention and Recovery Care
Prevention and Recovery Care

Completing construction on a 12 bed PARC centre supporting women experiencing mental ill health

Statewide Child and Family Centre
Statewide Child and Family Centre

Completing construction on Victoria’s first facility of its kind

Thomas Embling Hospital
Thomas Embling Hospital

Releasing designs and getting construction underway on the expansion

Youth Prevention and Recovery Care
Youth Prevention and Recovery Care

Releasing designs and getting construction underway on five new facilities across the state

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Want to find out more?

With so many different types of mental health care facilities in planning and delivery, it can be difficult to understand the level of treatment, care and support that each provides.

In this article we unpack some of the different mental health facilities we’re delivering and explaining how they’ll support Victorians experiencing mental ill health or psychological distress on their recovery journey.

You can read more about our mental health projects here on our website.

Getting mental health support

Mental health helplines can provide support if you are experiencing mental ill health:

  • Beyondblue – call 1300 224 636 for telephone support, information and resources for people dealing with depression or anxiety.
  • Lifeline - call 13 11 14 for this free, 24-hour Australia-wide crisis support and suicide prevention service.
  • Kids Help Line – call 1800 55 1800 for free counselling and advice for young people between the ages of five and 25.

A comprehensive list of counselling, online and phone supports for mental illness is available on the Better Health Channel website.

The Department of Health also provides information on mental health resources for those struggling due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They are available on the Mental health resources page on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website.

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Last updated: 02 March 2022