Professor Marie Bashir Mental Health Centre Opens in Sydney

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 17 November, 2014


Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's new 73-bed mental health centre has been named the Professor Marie Bashir Centre.
Due to welcome patients this week, the $67 million building, a joint initiative of the NSW Government, Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney, was officially opened by  the Premier, Mike Baird, NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Mental Health Jai Rowell, and former governor and patron, Dame Marie Bashir.
The centre features a six-bed short stay unit, an assessment unit, physical therapies suite, acute adult inpatient services, with capacity to manage mothers and babies in a defined pod, and a high dependency unit. It also houses the state's eating disorder services under the one roof for the first time, and provides seven University of Sydney beds dedicated to translational research.
"It represents a new era in the way we care for people in our community," says Sydney Local Health District's Director of Mental Health Services Associate Professor Victor Storm. "The majority of people who have experienced mental illness recover well and lead fulfilling lives in their communities when they have access to necessary care and support."
"The University of Sydney, through the Brain & Mind Research Institute, has been a key partner to this specific project since its inception," says University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence.
"The university advocated strongly for this unique development in which it commits its research and education programs that can make real and direct benefits to individuals and families affected by mental illness. The challenge now is to deliver on the aspirations of all those who have supported the project."
"The new centre is a further example of the NSW Government supporting the University of Sydney and the Sydney Local Health District to deliver world class, evidence based mental health services," says Professor Ian Hickie, Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute.
"Specific examples include our NHMRC and CRC-backed programs for early intervention for teenagers and young adults, sophisticated use of modern brain imaging technologies, the development of new treatments for severe depressive disorders and the utilisation of modern communication technologies to deliver better long-term outcomes.
"In the first instance, BMRI-led teams will focus on developing better interventions for young people in the early phases of major mood or psychotic disorders. Through the generous support of the NSW Government and private philanthropy, the University of Sydney is currently appointing a new Professor of Youth Depression to enhance our capacity to deliver in this key area of mental health services."
The building has been named in honour of one of the District's most significant champions for mental health, and a much loved member of the RPA and University of Sydney families.
"Professor Bashir worked within our hospitals in mental health for many years, becoming an advocate for thousands of people across the system," says the District's Chief Executive, Dr Teresa Anderson.
"Her commitment to improving the lives of people living with a mental illness, her compassion, and her ability to make every person that she comes into contact with feel special and important is inspirational, and her legacy will continue in this centre."
The Professor Marie Bashir Centre will house the state's eating disorder services under the one roof for the first time. It will also include a six-bed short stay unit, a ground floor assessment unit, physical therapies suite, acute adult inpatient services, including capacity to manage mothers and babies in a defined pod, a high dependency unit, as well as seven beds dedicated for research, putting the centre at the forefront of international best practice in psychiatric care.
It integrates many of Sydney Local Health District's mental health services in addition to providing seven University of Sydney beds dedicated to translational research. The purpose-built centre provides a contemporary, warm environment featuring beautiful wall murals, a roof top garden, barbecue and break out areas for staff, patients and visitors.
 Pic of opening from Mike Baird Twitter Page

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