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A new era for mental health services in this region

04 July 2022 Blog
Mental health Perinatal mental health
After a significant transformation, the former St John of God Berwick Hospital on Gibb Street is set to reopen its doors on 3 August to serve the mental health needs of its local communities.
As a nod to Berwick’s pioneer of health care in the Casey-Cardinia region ─ Dr Percy Langmore, the aptly named Langmore Centre will provide evidence-based inpatient and outpatient therapy to assist people living with a range of mild to moderate mental health conditions.

St John of God Health Care Langmore Centre’s Chief Executive Officer Linda Allen says, “After community consultation in late 2019 and an analysis of health care provision and demographics across our rapidly growing population, it was clear that there was a need for mental health services in this area. Research tells us that clients have better health care outcomes and more sustained recovery when they have access to early intervention of mental health services close to home.”

The $18.2 million revitalisation and expansion of the old hospital facility will provide the region with 60-beds for a variety of mental health conditions such as alcohol and other drug dependency, depression, anxiety and personality disorders. New to the Casey-Cardinia municipalities is the provision of a dedicated 12-bed perinatal mental health wing for new and expecting parents.

“We know there are new parents suffering in this region with limited services,” explains Linda. “It’s our responsibility to ensure we can provide the services needed to fill that gap for the community.” St John of God Health Care is positioned to provide an extensive and cohesive approach to perinatal mental health with opportunities for St John of God Berwick Hospital and Langmore Centre to partner with St John of God Raphael Services on Fairholme Boulevard in Berwick. Raphael Services is a social outreach initiative which offers no out-of-pocket expenses and provides counselling, support and therapy for new families. These complementary  services will work toward establishing early intervention and screening tools to help recognise parents with mental health issues or those at risk of developing them through various stages of pregnancy and parenthood. Family members requiring inpatient care or outpatient appointments with a psychiatrist will then be referred to the Langmore Centre.

By adding a bed to patient rooms, the perinatal mental health unit can also accommodate partners (including same-sex couples) and babies up to 18 months old for the duration of treatment.  “These private, cosy and welcoming rooms allow our specialised mental health clinicians to assist with individual patient recovery while the family continues to learn how to live well together,” explains Linda.

The new facility will provide private room accommodation for inpatients, a neuro stimulation suite for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatments, in-house dining facilitates and therapy rooms, including specialised art rooms, outdoor gathering spaces and an exercise studio. There will also be a separate wellbeing hub that will house community prevention programs such as supporting youth mental health, mindfulness classes, mental health first aid, and information sessions on anxiety and depression among other mental health conditions. There will also be specialised group therapy and day programs for inpatients, as well as consulting suites on site. 

Widely recognised as a key contributor to maintaining good mental health, opportunities to focus on health and wellness are easily accessible and highly encouraged by our exercise physiologists and physicians who are on hand to support patients with their goals. 

“Many of our patients benefit from including exercise in their recovery programs,“ offers Linda. “Learning how to use exercise as a tool to manage symptoms, improve physical health, sleep quality and overall quality of life, is an important factor in treating many mental health conditions. And it’s why we have a team of dedicated clinicians and an exercise studio on site to help.”

All admissions to the Langmore Centre are conducted on a voluntary basis, which means that patients who must be detained under the Mental Health Act will need to access inpatient care elsewhere. 

“We are not equipped or legislated to accept patients who cannot admit themselves. Our patients are all over the age of 18 and have high prevalence disorders such as anxiety and depression,” offers Linda. “These are regular people who could be your mum, sister, brother, uncle or friend. Having a service like this means everyday people can source the help they need for common mental health conditions closer to home.”

The addition of the Langmore Centre will enhance St John of God Health Care’s scope of services in Melbourne’s south east growth corridor ─ in particular, it will provide Gippsland residents greater access to acute mental health services. Being the only hospital dedicated to mental health in this region, the Langmore Centre will complement the broad suite of services already established in Berwick by St John of God Health Care. These services include acute medical, surgical and maternity care, along with rehabilitation services at St John of God Frankston Rehabilitation Hospital

St John of God South East Melbourne Hospitals General Manager Lisa Norman, sets the health care vision for the future of this area, “As an organisation we’ve always involved ourselves in the community and responded to its needs. This is reflected in the types of services we offer and the social outreach partnerships we form locally. The Langmore Centre rounds out the health care services we offer in this region, allowing us to provide premier whole-person care from birth through to senior years,” explains Lisa. “We’re extremely proud to be able to provide this level of care to the community.” 

For more information on any of St John of God Health Care’s mental health services call our Langmore Centre on 9773 7000 or email: [email protected].

Jennine Dodd - Copywriter
Jennine Dodd is a copywriter for St John of God South East Melbourne Hospitals. She has over 20 years’ experience in interviewing, and writing/editing for magazines, company publications, social media and websites. As a professional writer and editor, she has had a particular focus on developing content for national and international small business communities, the mining and technology industry, and both the human and animal health care sectors.