Pregnant women and new mothers experiencing mental illness will soon have access to specialist care alongside their babies with construction for the State’s second purpose-built Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) at the Westmead Health Precinct now complete.
The facility is the second purpose-built MBU in NSW and has been co-designed with women with a lived experience of mental illness, their families and clinicians to ensure it meets the needs of women who will access the service.
The new facility is designed to keep families together when a mother requires hospitalisation for a severe perinatal mental illness, further reducing pressure on GPs and emergency departments.
“It is very emotional seeing the physical result of so many hours of work and planning which has contributed to the co-design of this new facility,” said Emma Britton, mother-of-three.
“You want to walk into a space that doesn’t feel clinical and is more like a home, that’s giving you a hug and makes you and your baby feel comfortable and safe.
“To know there is a new space available for women experiencing perinatal mental illness to come and get better alongside their babies and families is amazing. It will provide more women and their families with the opportunity to get the help they need.”
The eight-bed unit, based in the Westmead Health Precinct, is staffed by specialist perinatal health professionals who can attend to the mental health needs of the mother, as well as facilitate appropriate care of the baby and promote positive mother-baby interactions.
Each bedroom is large enough to accommodate a mother, their baby and a partner, and has been specially designed to meet different levels of care.
The unit will also offer patients a landscaped outdoor area for exercise, relaxation, family visits, as well as space and equipment for antenatal care, a 24-hour respite nursery, a parent craft room, a retreat room, consultation and group therapy rooms.
The Westmead Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit is being delivered as part of the NSW Government’s Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program. Projects have been delivered or are underway in Albury, Blacktown, Broken Hill, Campbelltown, Royal Prince Alfred, Nepean and Tamworth.