State Government to close Qld's only dedicated residential youth mental health facility

ABC News By Jesse Dorsett Updated Wed Aug 7, 2013

The State Government has confirmed it is shutting down Queensland's only mental health unit that houses teenagers with severe mental disorders.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says the services provided by Brisbane's Barrett Adolescent Centre at Wacol in western Brisbane will be decentralised by early next year.

"That centre will be closing as we actually come up with a range of new options to actually deliver those services to people closer to their own home," he said.

Mr Springborg says the Wacol location of the centre is inappropriate.

"It's an ageing facility," he said.

"It won't be able to function much beyond this year because it's in the middle of an adult mental health facility, which is going to be expanded and of course that carries with it some risks."

However, the Queensland Opposition says the Barrett Centre has proven effective.

Opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller says the Government has abandoned vulnerable Queenslanders.

"These young people have been suffering from depression, self harm, anorexia," she said.


Parents worried

Fraser Coast mother Angela says her daughter is on the centre's waiting list after three years out of school and several suicide attempts.

Angela says local care is inadequate.

"She sees someone once a week and they don't have the staff to do the kind of therapy that she needs to be able to get better," she said.

Margaret Yandell's daughter is a patient at the centre says she is worried experienced staff will not keep their jobs.

"The model at the Barrett works only because of the specific skills set that the staff have and the approach," she said.

"So unless that is replicated in the same way, it's not going to be as effective."

The unit, which includes a school, will be shut by early next year.

The Government is yet announce where replacement facilities will be established, but says it will assemble a panel to advise it on youth mental health.

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