The new Sunshine Coast Mental Health and Addiction Service at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
The new Sunshine Coast Mental Health and Addiction Service at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

New Coast mental health facility will save lives

NEW mental health services at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital will "most definitely" save lives, says Fisher MP Andrew Wallace.

One of his daughters suffered severe anorexia as a child and in her adolescent years, and he knows the impacts acute mental illness can have on young people and their families.

The Sunshine Coast Mental Health and Addiction Service, part of the hospital at Birtinya, has a modest number of new inpatient beds, clinical director Chris Lilley told the Daily.

But the inclusion of adolescent unit that accommodates six people means youth aged 13-18 no longer have to travel to Brisbane for acute care.

"We've always admitted people to hospital but they've been in Brisbane," he said.

"They're now on the Sunshine Coast, so you cease to be displaced from your family and your supports locally. You can probably even attend school."


Mr Wallace said it was a great step for the Coast's health services.

"One of the biggest challenges for us as a region has been our lack of care for acute (mental health) inpatients," he said.

"Where your child can be treated locally and where your family can stay together...I'm sure that will be a hell of a lot better - much more manageable."

RELATED: Hospital pioneers new approach to mental health care

He said it would always be "absolutely soul-destroying when you leave a child" in a hospital - often against their will.

Older people will also benefit from their own unit at the new facility, with 12 beds for people aged 65 and older.


Acting director of the service Lisa Newport said people from three years of age to more than 90 years of age were being treated by SCHHS for mental illness or drug addiction.

About 75% of them received support while living in the community, not at an inpatient facility like the one at Birtinya.

The overarching aim of the new hospital's mental health and addiction service was to help people recover and return home as soon as possible, Ms Newport said.

To reach out to public mental health services on the Coast, phone 1300 MH CALL (1300 642 255).


Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

beyondblue: 1300 22 46 36

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

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