Creating the correct environment is crucial for successful mental health treatment – so Ramsay Health Care is providing new specialised safe spaces for vulnerable patients.
Ramsay Clinic New Farm is the first in Queensland to offer dedicated private inpatient mental health services for adolescents under the age of 16 years old.
The three-week inpatient program is based in a 12-bed unit completely separated from the adult population at the Brisbane clinic, taking in youths from the age of 14 years old.
Director of Youth Services Professor James Scott said the new program would help young people to manage their mental health through group and individual therapy, developing skills such as emotional self-regulation, distress tolerance and behavioural activation.
“The most recent comprehensive study into adolescent mental health disorders found almost one in seven people aged four to 17 years old – or more than 560,000 Australian children – have a mental disorder,” Prof Scott said.
“However, it is well-documented that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the prevalence of these conditions.”
Prof Scott said the service – which transitions to a day program supporting patients as they go back to their usual care – would include family involvement and look at enhancing family relationships.
“It’s important for adolescents to remain connected to their education, so we will include in the program some time for them to do their schoolwork,” he added.
“One benefit of the pandemic is that these students are experienced in online learning, and we will have staff available to support their learning.”
Ramsay Health Care, which treats more than 70,000 mental health patients in Australia each year, has also launched a female-only service in Wollongong.
Ramsay Clinic Thirroul is Australia’s first women’s stand-alone, trauma-informed mental health service.
First announced in May 2022, it welcomed its first patients in August and was officially opened by New South Wales’ Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor, at the end of November.
Anne Mortimer, Director of Ramsay Mental Health, said the facility would offer a new alternative for women suffering from complex mental health concerns such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Twelve percent of the Australian population, or more than three million people, will suffer from PTSD in their lifetime. Unfortunately, two-thirds of these will be female,” Ms Mortimer said.
“To date, there is a real shortage of women-only mental health facilities in Australia.
“Ramsay Mental Health has been providing care for people affected by mental illness since 1964 and we understand that mental health challenges look different for everyone, especially trauma-related mental health. We also understand that some women will heal best in a female-only environment.”
Sexual assault survivor Bianca, 28, was among the first cohort of inpatients to attend the 43-bed Thirroul clinic, having spent the past decade trying to get suitable therapy for her PTSD.
“This PTSD phase one treatment was so different to any other hospital. The entire approach was different and thorough in giving us the knowledge we needed. I finally understood why my brain worked the way it did because of my trauma,” she said.
“And with no men, I didn’t need to have my guard up and hide away every day or feel unsafe.”
Ms Mortimer said the Thirroul clinic would also help to create the next generation of trauma-informed mental health specialists.
“It will become a training centre for psychiatric, medical, psychological, allied health and nursing students to help build a workforce for the future that is trauma informed when managing complex mental health issues,” she said.
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