Nexus Youth Mental Health Facility Unveiled

An artist’s impression of the Nexus space for treating youth mental health.


IF there was ever a need for more youth mental health services, it is now.

COVID-19 has increased levels of anxiety and mental health issues faced by our youth.

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For those living in Port Stephens there is a free service with counsellors through jupiter, however those needing more specialised services still access these through John Hunter Hospital.

Designs for the Nexus Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at John Hunter Hospital were unveiled last week.

Michael Di Rienzo, Chief Executive Hunter New England Local Health District said the 12-bed redevelopment has been co-designed with young people with lived experience in adolescent mental health, their families, clinicians and staff.

The jupiter rooms situated within the Tomaree Library complex were also co-designed with youth input.

“This co-design approach enables us to provide a modern, therapeutic environment for young people admitted to the state-wide inpatient service,” Mr Di Rienzo said.

“Working with teens and children with lived experience provides the opportunity to build a contemporary unit that best meets their needs.”

“The design includes a dedicated courtyard, carer accommodation, family zones, recreation areas and rooms that maximise access to natural light,” Mr Di Rienzo said.

“The proposed layout provides an environment that balances the needs for privacy, activity and creativity.

“It’s wonderful to see young people guiding the future of this service,” Mr Di Rienzo said.

“It focuses on a patient-centred model of care with spaces to support family involvement in the delivery of care for their loved one.”

The Nexus Unit accommodates young people up to 18 years of age, as well as providing support to their families and carers.

It also provides telehealth mental health services to rural and remote areas.

Mr Di Rienzo said that while the Nexus Unit is one of nine state-wide acute Child and Adolescent and Mental Health Services, it primarily supports young people from the Hunter and New England regions.

The new Nexus Unit will be located in an area of the existing John Hunter Hospital and was identified as part of the Master Plan for the $835 million John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct.

Work on the redesigned Nexus Unit is forecast to commence in 2025 following commissioning of the Acute Services Building, which is being delivered as part of the precinct.

The Nexus redevelopment is part of the $700 million Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program to support the delivery of mental health care reform in NSW – the single biggest investment in mental health infrastructure to date.



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