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Children and adolescents will have increased access to mental health support in Tamworth under a $14.6 million expansion of the new Banksia Mental Health Unit.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the funding boost will support additional floor capacity as part of the new Banksia Mental Health Unit to be constructed at Tamworth Hospital, with four dedicated child and adolescent beds for young people, as well as accommodation for child and adolescent community mental health teams.

“The community have been calling for the inclusion of child and adolescent beds in the new Banksia Mental Health Unit. I am extremely pleased to announce that we have responded to those calls and will be expanding the new unit so more children and adolescents who are experiencing an acute mental health episode can receive care in a clinically safe environment closer to home,” Mr Anderson said.

“While the majority of young people experiencing mental distress will be able to manage with community-based support, we know some may need a higher-level of care at services like the Banksia Mental Health Unit in Tamworth.

“The additional floor capacity and staff will provide the appropriate space and time for assessment and referral to other Child and Adolescent specialty services for those who require longer term treatment or discharge into the community.”

Minister for Regional Health and Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the expansion of Banksia Mental Health Unit is part of a series of funding commitments to help address a surge in demand for youth mental health support in NSW.

“We know there has been a large increase in the prevalence of mental disorders in children and adolescents both in Australia and internationally, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mrs. Taylor said.

“The NSW Government is investing in a range of support services, including in acute mental health inpatient units like Banksia Mental Health Unit. This will ensure we can continue to meet the community’s mental health needs now and into the future.”

The new Banksia Mental Health Unit is being constructed as part of the NSW Government’s $700 million Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program. The additional funding brings the total budget for the project to $56.2 million.

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