Gladstone hospital's $2m project to end 'upheaval for families'

MENTAL health is getting a boost in the right direction.

Gladstone Mater Hospital received $1 million to help construct a new mental health centre.

Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland acting chief executive officer Lynne Sheehan said the organisation wanted to support out-patients through the new centre.

"We want to focus on the out-patient programs once they've been discharged because they don't always get continued support," Ms Sheehan said.

"In the community, mental health does not discriminate and there is an increasing need for support."

The funding came from the Gladstone Foundation.

Mater hospital director of operations Frances Forbes.
Mater hospital director of operations Frances Forbes. Mike Richards GLA161216MATER

Gladstone Mater Hospital manager Frances Forbes said they would be matching the grant dollar for dollar to create a comfortable mental health centre.

"What we are planning on doing at Mater in Gladstone is redeveloping part of the hospital for patient accommodation and for consulting and therapy rooms," Ms Forbes said.

"We are also going to do external work for recreational areas and garden areas because we have such beautiful internal gardens so we hope to have a nice outdoor area."

The "significant contribution" will mean families and patients don't have to travel to seek treatments, which often creates "a lot of upheaval for families".

"It's one of many services ... there has been a huge effort and drive by all the hospitals to increase the range of services available to local communities and it's one of those things that is now time to expand," Ms Forbes said.

"It will open a number of services coming in to Gladstone over the next few years."

Ms Forbes said the current design would have the facilities for eight inpatient beds but they expected the number to grow over time with demand.

The goal is to complete the centre is the next 12-18 months. Through the centre and the building there will be more jobs created as well as educational services.

"It won't only provide more jobs, but for everybody from education to other mental health professionals it will add another dimension to the range of services they can get experience in," Ms Forbes said.

Ms Forbes said the mental health centre would provide extra opportunities for mental health service staff including councillors, psychologists and social workers.

The centre will also look at accepting public patients and not restricting their services to private patients.

It will benefit the region as patients who require hospitalisation can spend more time recovering and continuing their treatment as opposed to travelling to the Sunshine Coast or Rockhampton.

"The work of Gladstone Foundation is remarkable in helping us put something like this together," Ms Forbes said.

"It's a great opportunity for Gladstone to have and we will start to see more and more services coming in, which will compliment other health services in Gladstone."

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