New mental health unit nears completion

Released 18/08/2016

Construction of the ACT’s new secure mental health facility is on track to be completed at the end of the year with the fit-out of rooms underway.

Minister for Health Simon Corbell toured the site today and announced the name of the facility as Dhulwa Mental Health Unit.

“When Dhulwa Mental Health Unit opens later this year it will include 10 acute beds for people with complex health needs and 15 rehabilitation beds,” Mr Corbell said. “The beds will be opened in a staged process once the unit becomes operational.

“Construction is progressing well with the external structure complete and internal works now taking place with the fit-out of bedrooms and therapy spaces underway.

“I’m also pleased, following consultation with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, Dhulwa a Ngunnawal term meaning ‘honeysuckle’, the name of a native plant, has been gifted for our new facility.

“Choosing an Indigenous name was important because Indigenous design elements are a key feature of the unit.

“This includes a ‘welcome to country’ rock garden at the entry, yarning circles in visitor and rehabilitation courtyards, and artworks created by the local Ngunnawal community.

“The three wings of the facility have also been named after native plants that align with primary design colours. These are Lomandra (green) which is commonly known as spiky-head mat-rush, Mallee (purple) which is a eucalypt that has several stems rather than a single trunk and Cassia (yellow) which produces an abundance of yellow flowers in winter and spring.

“I would like to thank the United Ngunnawal Elders Council for gifting the name Dhulwa, to this new facility and acknowledge their continuing the contribution to our city.”

As part of the ACT Government’s commitment to expand mental health services across the territory for Canberra’s most vulnerable, Dhulwa Mental Health Unit will provide an environment for the treatment and care of adults with moderate to severe mental illness.

“The facility will provide 24 hour clinical support for patients needing a secure place for their care and rehabilitation, outside of the prison environment,” Mr Corbell said.

“The facility will also offer patients opportunities to develop new skills and interests that will play a vital role in their recovery such as gardening, exercise, social activities, as well as cultural and vocational activities.”

The unit is part of the Health Infrastructure Program, which is investing in Canberra’s health services by improving how and where patients are cared for.

“The Dhulwa Mental Health Unit is an excellent example of why it is so important to continue to provide more care options, and more appropriate care options, to support and improve the health of our community,” Mr Corbell said.

- Statement ends -

Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases

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