Australia’s first alcohol and drug division opens its doors this week.
The $ 17.7 million six-bed unit, opened by NSW Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor, will provide specialized care to patients receiving psychiatric or alcohol-related psychiatric episodes.
It is a timely development during a mental illness caused by a coronavirus epidemic.
PANDA (the psychiatric alcohol and non-prescription drug Unit) was deliberately set up near the emergency department at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst so that its staff could use mental health technologies, medical clinics and alcohol and drug groups.
They will look at patients who may be placed under the Mental Health Act and need to be considered for a short stay, examination and treatment planning before they are discharged.
Professor Paul Preisz, a liaison, the director of emergency services at the hospital, said the unit would support at-risk patients who may be distressed by the ED and who may leave before the care program can be undertaken.
Ms Taylor said the nature of the unit would enable those experiencing mental illness and complex addiction to begin their journey of recovery.
The unit is funded by a $ 12 million grant from the State Government, as well as support from the Supporters In the Resuscitation of Emergency Department Needs in St Vincent’s (SIRENS).
Alcohol use and depression increased significantly after closure, job losses, financial stress and relationship breakdown caused by the coronavirus epidemic earlier this year.