St John of God Health Care recently announced its plans to offer mental health services in Berwick for the south east growth corridor of Melbourne.

Construction will commence in July 2021 to redevelop the St John of God Langmore Centre (the former St John of God Berwick Hospital) located at Gibb Street, Berwick, into a community mental health service with both inpatient and outpatient services.

Linda Allen, CEO SJG Pinelodge Clinic & Langmore Centre said, ‘After community consultation in late 2019 and an analysis of healthcare provision and demographics across our rapidly growing population, it was apparent that there was a need for mental health services, locally.

‘Research tells us that clients have better healthcare outcomes and more sustained recovery when they have access to early intervention of mental health services close to home,’ said Linda.

The redeveloped Langmore Centre will open in mid-2022 and provide inpatient, day and community services and offer the latest evidence-based therapies to assist people living with a range of mild to moderate mental health conditions, addiction dependency and a specialised unit to support parents experiencing perinatal mental health issues.

‘One in five Australians live with a mental health condition,’ said Linda. ‘Most common is anxiety and depression which affects people of all ages and can be very debilitating mentally, physically and socially. Some people are impacted by addiction to medication and alcohol.’ Linda adds: ‘With the significant statistic of 1 in 5 people being impacted by mental health it is quite possible someone in our family, a neighbour or someone we know at a local sports club, the local school or working with us is affected.

‘Sometimes we will know of their struggles and other times they deal with these in isolation. We are all touched by mental health and it is important that people are able to access and be provided with the right support close to home to focus on improving their quality of life.’

Lisa Norman, CEO of SJG South East Melbourne Hospitals, sets the healthcare vision, ‘As an organisation, we’ve always involved ourselves in the community and responded to community need. This is reflected in the types of services we offer and the social outreach partnerships we form locally. The Langmore Centre will complement our broad suite of services, across our various sites in South East Melbourne, allowing us to provide wholeperson care for our community from birth through to senior years.’

The treasured Gibb Street facility has been part of the Berwick community for over 100 years, first opening its doors in 1910 as the Shepton Private Hospital. Throughout the years, community need has dictated the direction of clinical services and has demanded the hospital grow to meet the rapidly expanding community in south east Melbourne. When the Berwick Hospital relocated to its new and larger purpose-built hospital at Kangan Drive in 2018, the Gibb Street facility remained vacant and ready for re-purposing. In late 2020, the site was temporarily re-opened for aged care residents as part of SJGHC’s community response to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact so many aspects of life, and mental health services will be needed in the community for some time. SJGHC says it is proud to be answering this call from the local community.