Sector News Suicide — 17 October 2016

A new residential adolescent mental health facility will be built at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane to replace the Barrett Centre which was controversially shut down in 2014.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new bed-based extended treatment and rehabilitation facility was recommended by a Commission of Inquiry into the Barrett closure by the previous Newman government.

“We are building a new centre and construction of it should start by the end of next year,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The LNP government was told by patients, by families, by experts that it needed to build this facility but it did not listen.”

The Barrett Centre was Queensland’s only long-term residential youth mental health facility before it was shut in 2014 by the LNP, which also scrapped plans to build a replacement inpatient facility.

Within eight months of the closure, three former teenage patients, Will Fowell, Talieha Nebauer and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker, took their own lives.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said while the new facility was essential, it was just one part of a broader plan to reform and improve services for young people.

“While we are building a new centre, it is important to note we are not simply replicating the Barrett Centre,” he said.

“We are developing a new model of care that will support at-risk Queensland adolescents in the most appropriate way.”

Mr Dick said the Government was on its way to implementing all the recommendations of the Barrett inquiry, overseen by a steering committee that involves families and patients of the former centre.

“We have engaged Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) to undertake a review of statewide services. This will be complete in 2017,” Mr Dick said.

“We will be engaging a specialist consultant to review contracts with non-government organisations that provide mental health services, this will also report next year.

“We will be working with the Queensland Centre for Mental Health to look at extended treatment for adolescents and young people with severe and complex mental health issues.

“We will also be putting new community based youth mental health teams on the ground across Queensland.”

Mr Dick said the State Government was allocating 25 per cent of its $350-million five-year plan for mental health and drug services towards new services for children and young people.

He said the new measures would add to Labor’s commitment to make Queenslanders among the healthiest people in the world by 2026.

This article frist appaered on ‘ABC‘ on 13 October 2016.

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