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Specialist mother and baby mental health unit opens at RPA

Wednesday 11 May 2022

New mothers requiring specialist care for severe mental illness can now have their babies stay with them at NSW’s first public purpose-built Mother and Baby Unit. 

The new facility at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital in Camperdown opened today and will care for up to 120 NSW residents a each year who have infants up to 12 months of age, providing a joint mother-baby focus; a crucial step in providing person-centered mental healthcare to NSW parents. 

Named ‘Naamuru’ – a local Aboriginal dialect word meaning ‘leading the way’ – the unit is the first state-wide facility designed to keep families together when a mother requires hospitalisation for a severe perinatal mental illness. 

The eight-bed unit 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. 

The unit has large bedrooms to accommodate the mother, up to two infants under 12-months of age and a partner or family member. There are also therapeutic spaces, including a 24-hour respite nursery; a mothercraft room; dining and kitchen areas; outdoor courtyards; play areas; and a retreat room. 

The Mother and Baby Unit is part of the NSW Government’s $700 million Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program – the single biggest investment in mental health infrastructure in NSW to date. A second state-wide facility at Westmead Hospital is expected to open later in the year. 

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