The Gold Coast has a new after-hours facility in Southport for adults experiencing mental health distress, when other mental health support services may not be open.
The new Safe Space Hub at the Southport Health Precinct is part of the joint regional plan and crisis reform initiative for mental health, recognising that a hospital emergency room is most-often not the best place for someone going through mental health distress. It has been established in response to growing demand, in part exacerbated by the pandemic.
The service supports adult and young adult mental health consumers after hours, at a time when their usual supports and clinicians are not available. Consumers do not need a referral or an appointment to attend.
Gold Coast Health’s Executive Director for Mental Health Malcolm McCann said the hub provides COVID-safe face-to-face visits along with phone and telehealth support, with teams of peer workers and clinical staff available to help people when they are feeling distressed.
“The service is for people who are experiencing an element of mental health vulnerability who need some after-hours support, but not in the emergency department,” Mr McCann said.
The development of the Southport site has been a collaborative effort, through a partnership between Gold Coast Primary Health Network and Gold Coast Health, with the service operators Primary and Community Care Services (PCCS). The Queensland Government provided more than $610,000 for the new service.
Gold Coast Primary Health Network CEO Matt Carrodus said the Australian Government Department of Health provided more than half a million dollars to fund a similar service at Mermaid Beach which was at capacity.
“We believe this funding will help to make a huge difference to those people seeking a friendly space during times of mental health distress,” Mr Carrodus said. “I would like to encourage GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists, primary health and community support services, schools or the families of young people who may require assistance, to contact PCCS.”
PCCS CEO, Associate Professor JR Baker, said the aim of the Safe Space Hub is to keep people safe by offering a community based after hour service that ultimately strives to reduce suicide rates.
“The hub is to make is easy for people to access help, in a welcoming environment that looks more like a café than a typical clinical space,” said Dr Baker. “Our peer support workers and clinical teams are here to look after people in distress, so they feel they have a place to go where they feel safe and supported and can build on their skills to look after their wellbeing and manage their mental health without having to go to hospital.”
The Southport Safe Space is located at the Southport Health Precinct, Level 3, 16-30 High Street, Southport and is open from 6pm-9pm Monday to Friday and 12pm-8pm weekends.
This service complements the 24-hour Gold Coast phone mental health hotline, 1300 MH CALL, and provides a pathway if required, to GPs and other mental health providers or Gold Coast Health mental health services such as the crisis stabilisation unit at Robina Hospital.