July 3, 2023

Creating a more accessible mental health service, together

Northern Health became a designated Mental Health Service on 1 July 2022, welcoming Northern Area Mental Health Services and North West Area Mental Health Services, as well as the staff of Merv Irvine Nursing Home and McLellan House.

A year later, we welcome the Broadmeadows Aged Persons Mental Health Unit (BAPMHU) and the new Specialist Older Adults Consultation Service (SOACS), completing the transition of services.

Belinda Scott, Executive Director Mental Health, said, “I am thrilled to lead an amazing team that is committed to improving outcomes for consumers experiencing mental ill health and their families and carers. Together, we are creating a more accessible and responsive mental health service.”

SOACS is a community service that provides assessment, treatment and rapid response for older adult consumers with a mental health diagnosis and frailty, who live in the northern community.

Sue Pike, Director, Service Development and Improvement, is excited about the launch of this service.

“We have designed a model of care that we believe will best meet the needs of the consumers in the north,” she said.

In August this year, the new mental health facility at Northern Hospital Epping will commence operations. It was designed with input from our clinicians, nurses, stakeholders, and people with lived experience of mental illness.

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said, “This new facility will allow people in Melbourne’s growing northern suburbs to receive the support they need close to their homes, families and support network.”

The facility offers 30 acute inpatient mental health beds with a contemporary and modern design to support recovery. It features technologically enhanced sensory rooms and courtyards, and consumers also have access to a range of shared internal spaces for social, therapeutic and recreational activities.

“Our service and this building reflect a significant shift in thinking about the way people experiencing mental illness are treated,” Ms Scott said.

“Consumer-centred care has underpinned the development of all aspects of this new facility and our service.”


Pictured from left to right: Kale Frost, Senior Exercise Physiologist, Belinda Scott, Executive Director, Jake Gale A/Team Manager, Ambulance Victoria,  Shaveta Sood, Program Manager, Chris Collard, A/Senior Team Manager, Ambulance Victoria and Jason Ray, Senior Occupational Therapist.