Bentley Hospital builds new youth mental health service

Bentley Hospital.
Bentley Hospital.

THE Bentley Adolescent Unit has been replaced with a new East Metropolitan Youth Unit (EMyU ) which opened with half the number of beds, specifically for 16 to 17-year olds.

A spokeswoman for the East Metro Health Service said renovations worth $354,000 will see the facility expanded back to its original 12-bed size from August 13, when it will begin to cater for people aged 16 to 24 years.

“This afforded us with a great opportunity to build a new service from the ground up and to tailor the model of care to ensure we meet the specific needs of this group of young people,” she said.

“The EMyU service model enables us to deliver youth specialist mental health care that will focus on early intervention, diagnostic clarification and age-specific management by a multidisciplinary team.”

Younger patients from the Bentley Adolescent Unit – which catered for patients aged 12 to 16 years – were moved to the new Perth Children’s Hospital when it opened in June.

The original Bentley facility attracted media attention in 2010 when psychiatrists said it was ‘like a prison’, and in 2016 when police were called because a group of patients threatened to harm staff and themselves.

In its place, Bentley was expected to open the East Metropolitan Youth Unit under a new model of care for inpatients 24 hours a days, seven days a week, offering seven-day therapeutic programs.

“Recent updates to the WA Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan resulted in Youth being recognised as a new age stream,” the health service spokeswoman said.

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said the EMyU would add to the 14 youth beds at Fiona Stanley Hospital, the 20 beds at Perth Children’s Hospital and the eight youth hospital in the home beds provided by Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital.

“The opening of Perth Children’s Hospital has allowed us to shift services and open a new dedicated unit to help meet demand for youth inpatient mental health services,” Mr Cook said.

“We know that 75 per cent of mental health problems start before the age of 25, so providing appropriate care early is essential to helping WA’s young people lead happy and productive lives.”