Penrith is now home to the first Head to Health Centre in the country, which promises to change the way locals access mental health services.
The new mental health service, located at 111 Henry Street, welcomes people in for support, seven days a week.
Federal Member for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh, and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, officially opened the centre, which is part of a $14 million investment from the Federal Government, on Monday morning.
Ms McIntosh commended the work of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network and Neami National, which will operate the centre.
“This centre was one of my election commitments… I didn’t really realise just how important it would be for the community, especially with COVID,” she said.
“I am so proud that the first one in the country is right here in Penrith. We deserve it, we need it and it is a testament to the outstanding work of everyone here.”
Mr Coleman said the centre is one of eight being trialled nationally over the next five years, with one located in each state and territory.
“Head to Health centres are designed to provide a welcoming, low stigma, no wrong door entry point for adults to access mental health services and supports, without needing a prior appointment or paying a fee,” he said.
“This won’t be around for just a couple of years but rather decades and is the start of a really big change to the mental health landscape in Australia.”
The centre, which is staffed by multidisciplinary teams, is open from 1pm to 9.30pm every day, except Tuesdays when it is open from 1pm to 5pm.
“I encourage the community to visit the centre to see the support they can offer you, either now or in the future,” Neami National CEO, Tom Dalton said.
“Many of the staff employed at the centre have a lived experience of mental health issues themselves and are passionate about helping people find the right care for their individual needs.”
Contact: 1800 595 212 or visit www.nbmphn.com.au/PenrithHeadtoHealth.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.