The private sector has stepped in to make sure young people don't miss out in plans for a new Banksia Mental Health Unit.
The Leader exclusively revealed in January that Hunter New England Health plans for the new 33-bed institution did not include a single dedicated bed for young people.
Joblink Plus will throw in $1.5 million in a donation for three new mental health beds dedicated specifically for adolescents, CEO Christine Shewry announced on Friday.
Better Banksia campaigner Di Wyatt cried on hearing the announcement at the International Women's Day Luncheon on Friday.
"We've been fighting for this as long as we have been trying to get the new mental health unit," she said.
"Every time I've had a meeting I've gone - we need an adolescent unit. And I've just been told we can't do that because you're not going to get funding for both.
"I'm absolutely overjoyed."
Mrs Wyatt said three beds for young people was not enough to cater for the enormous North West region, but it was a start. Tamworth desperately needs a specialist child and adolescent psychiatrist, she said, and the new unit might help get one.
"My granddaughter's almost 17 so she's going to miss out. But it's the other kids and I know there's a lot of kids who need help," she said.
Mrs Shewry said as many as 70 per cent of the people JobLink Plus sees have some sort of mental health problem.
She told media on Friday she didn't feel she'd been asked to fund a service government should provide.
"I'm not one of those people who advocates that government is responsible for everything in our lives," she said.
"Most people actually don't want to be dependent on the government for everything. What they want to do is be able to make choices for themselves.
"We don't feel resentful about that at all, in fact, we hope we can do more."
The project's clinical services plan forecasts that the North West region will not need a single dedicated bed for young people, or any additional beds to the 25 general-purpose mental health beds.
All eight new beds planned for the new Banksia unit are dedicated beds for seniors, to cater for the region's ageing population. The clinical service plan remains secret, despite repeated requests from the Leader.
Asked if the new "adolescent unit" would make a mockery of the clinical services planning process, Mr Anderson said he'd take "any additional services any day of the week".
The three-bed unit will be built within the same "footprint" as the new Banksia unit, he said.
"The reason why we've chosen to co-locate this facility with the main facility is that it will have access to the full range of services that will be available in Banksia," he said.
Mr Anderson also announced a timeline for the project on Friday, telling the International Women's Day luncheon ground would be broken on the project in March or April 2022. Completing construction could be done "you would think within twelve months, hopefully", he said.
The new centre would "provide safety for young people through short stay accommodation of up to 72 hours featuring an emotionally designed therapeutic space, and has recreational areas for young people to be connected to ongoing support services during their stay", he said.
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