By ALLISON HORE
A new mental health recovery and early intervention centre officially opened in Bondi on Tuesday this week.
The new $1.1 million mental health short-stay recovery centre was set up by Independent Community Living Australia (ICLA), a mental health, disability, and homelessness community organisation. The organisation first came about in 1984 to aid a group of boarding house residents in Bondi who were facing eviction.
The eight-bed prevention and recovery centre, established in partnership between ICLA and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, is located within the community near Bondi Beach. The centre will be staffed around the clock, 7 days a week. Staff on duty includes support workers, peer workers and clinical staff.
Cutting the ribbon on the centre was Janet Meagher, a mental health advocate and 1996 recipient of a Member of the Order of Australia. After a mental health crisis led Ms. Meagher to crash into Sydney Airport in 1969 she was taken into care at Gladesville Hospital. It was this experience which began her path of advocacy work.
She said the new centre in Bondi was a “welcome initiative”.
“It offers those experiencing severe and persistent mental health issues opportunities for personalised support to assist their recovery efforts with the development of a hopeful future through a combination of Peer Support and clinical options being available to them,” she said.
People of any gender aged between 18 to 64 will be able to access the services which were funded in part by the NSW government.
NSW Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the centre would provide an extra layer of care for those experiencing mental health crises outside a hospital setting.
“This facility will provide evidence-based care in a peer supported environment,” she said.
“It is a safe space designed to support recovery and empower those leaving hospital care as they prepare to return to their community.”
Angela Karooz, General Manager, Mental Health Service, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District said the partnership with ILCA will enable the district to provide high-quality care to vulnerable people in the Eastern suburbs without hospitalisation.
“The emphasis is on the person’s personal strengths and resources that can be harnessed to enhance their wellbeing and recover,” she said.