BUILDING work on Albury’s Brain and Mind Centre, described as a one-stop shop for mental health care, is expected to begin in February.
The first floor of the Mercy Centre will be largely gutted to host the centre which will be administered by Albury Wodonga Health.
The NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and her Mental Health Minister Tanya Davies announced yesterday the $3 million project would be housed in the 1957 building.
Depression, eating disorders, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia will be among the diseases treated at the centre which has been sought by member for Albury Greg Aplin since 2014.
A new entrance at the rear of the building, featuring a golden canopy of timber ribbons, will be created.
The decoration is designed to reflect “a swirling mass of chaotic thought streams” being made rational upon entering the building.
Albury Wodonga Health’s director of infrastructure Russel Sheppard said tenders open next Monday and close on January 16 with construction to begin in February.
AWH board member Nicki Melville said services were expected to start next July.
AWH has a 10-year lease with Mercy Health with existing services to shift from sites in High Street, Wodonga, and Townsend and Smollett streets in Albury.
Ms Berejiklian said a young Albury resident had told her directly of the need for mental health help.
“I was speaking to some young people in the community and I said to them ‘what is the No.1 issue do you think that governments need to provide better support for?’,” she said.
“One young person said that she thought that an emphasis on mental health was really required for her community and her generation.”
Mr Aplin said he and Ms Berejiklian had both served as shadow mental health ministers and “we know just how serious this issue is”.
As the government bolsters mental health outreach services, the future of the Nolan House in-patient clinic at Albury hospital is also becoming clearer.
Ms Davies said having previously visited Nolan House and met with a friends group she realised improvements were urgently needed with the high dependency unit being upgraded with a $1 million from the NSW and Victorian governments.
She said a $5 million mental health state infrastructure plan was being undertaken and that would determine how the needs of Nolan House ranked against the rest of NSW.
Asked if that study could result in a new Nolan House emerging, Mrs Davies said “at the moment it is being assessed along with all other requirements and priorities across the state, we’ll wait and see”.