Sod turned for the newest ‘Step Up Step Down’ mental health service


Canberrans will benefit from a new community ‘Step Up Step Down’ mental health service that  will provide recovery-focused residential care to help prevent the risk of hospital admission in a highly supportive environment.

Today, the site of Canberra’s newest community Step Up Step Down service for the Canberra community was prepared for construction with a sod turning and smoking ceremony.

The service will provide short-term (2-4 weeks) residential treatment, care and support for adults with a mental illness in a community setting. This can be a ‘step up’ when someone in the community is becoming unwell and needs some additional support, or a ‘step down’ to provide a supported transition back home after a hospital admission.

“Around one third of Canberrans will need mental health care at some stage in their lives. This means that our local services and facilities have to expand as our population grows so that all Canberrans can access the right services, at the right time,” Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury said today.

Mental health is an issue that can affect anyone in our community, and different people will need a range of different supports. That is why the ACT Government is working to deliver new supported accommodation options for people, so that more Canberrans in our community can access mental health services if and when they need them.”

The ACT has three established community-based residential Step Up Step Down programs and research demonstrates they have significant benefits for prevention and recovery from a mental health episode. The model is part of a national effort to refocus mental health service delivery away from acute hospital care to community supported recovery in a home-like environment.

Planning and design is now in the final stages with construction to begin shortly for the new service which is expected to be complete in the latter half of 2020.

The Southside Community Step Up Step Down service was funded through the 2018-19 Budget as part of a broader mental health supported accommodation package.