Recently, delegates from Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung Hospital visited Melbourne to meet with some of our leading mental health change models. Recently, the Hong Kong government has pledged support for redevelopment of the 920 bed multi-disciplinary, psychiatric hospital, and 2016 will see the move from institutional style settings to a model of high quality, integrated person-centred care.
The aim of the visit was to learn about newer facilities design in Melbourne, as well as improved understanding of the workforce culture changes occurring alongside the physical changes in the buildings.
As a large public health service incorporating a tertiary teaching hospital and a wide range of acute and sub-acute services, various St. Vincent’s sites were a feature of the visit. Teams from community and inpatient settings presented to the group, including a tour of the new North Fitzroy Prevention and Recovery Care Service (PARC) operated by St Vincent’s Hospital in partnership with MI Fellowship Victoria.
Mental health clinicians involved in new facilities and transformations across the metropolitan Melbourne area were also involved in the program. These included lively discussions with teams at Mercy Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Monash Health, Orygen and NorthWestern Health about the dynamics of clinical services and building new spaces that reflect the new Mental Health Act’s directives for least-restrictive environments.
For Kwai Chung Hospital, the anticipated move to the community will also involve raising community awareness and improving understanding of the model of care. The group were appreciative of time with Australian leaders in campaigning, education and research into reducing stigma associated with illness such as the national independent not-for-profit organisations SANE and beyondblue. Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace provided an overview of the prevention and early intervention work, as well as improving access to services for young people and their families.
The Hong Kong group valued the opportunity to meet with teams at NEAMI and MI Fellowship, and to discuss the dynamics of partnering between clinical services and community supports, and services provided by these organisations delivered by people with an experience of mental illness and recovery and people with health and community expertise.
It was noted by both Hong Kong and Australian participants that the wide range of exchanges in this program inspired new ideas and renewed assurance in recovery based mental health services. Many of the discussions and analysis of examples of good practice resulted in a reciprocal insights into possibilities which can improve the lives of people living with mental illness in Hong Kong and Australia.