A new €8.8 million child and adolescent mental health services inpatient unit, which replaces St Anne’s Children’s Centre, Taylor’s Hill, opened at Merlin Park this week.
The 20-bed unit, which is located on a 2.7 acre site, will provide an extended range of services for the inpatient needs of children up to age 18 together with a wide range of therapeutic interventions.
The facility includes children’s and adolescents’ inpatient units and overnight accommodation for parents. The therapy space includes a sensory room, play and arts therapy areas, a woodwork room, games room and a sports/indoor activity hall. Outdoors, the landscaped gardens include carefully designed therapeutic areas.
Launching the 2009 Second Annual Report of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Ireland at Merlin Park on Tuesday prior to touring the new facility Dr Frank Dolphin, the chairman of the HSE, said childhood is short. He went on to say it was heartening to see the “major progress” being achieved in the mental health services for children and young people.
“When a child is in difficulty, early intervention by skilled professionals is vital. The commitment, care and innovation displayed by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services teams in responding to the needs of clients and families are particularly impressive.
“The focus on monitoring and research will enable us to identify and respond to emergent issues and trends and continue the ongoing development of our mental health services for children and adolescents.”
Adrian Ahern, manager of mental health services for Galway, spoke of the significance of the development of the new unit.
“This will provide a specialist inpatient facility to serve the HSE West area and will strengthen the community-based teams that are doing such good work in community settings across the region.
“The overall environment is aimed at maximising the therapeutic potential of all the experiences throughout the child’s day and maintaining a homely, caring culture. A wide range of treatment interventions, including family therapy, psychotherapy and support and counselling, are offered. The project involved all staff and incorporated views of the service users, with everyone working together with the architects and engineers from the preliminary design stages through the selection of colours, fittings and equipment.”
The new unit will be opened in phases and patients will be transferred from St Anne’s Child and Adolescent Centre on a planned basis. It is anticipated that the transfer of the existing service will be complete before the end of the year.