16 November 2023

Therapeutic spaces front of mind for CAMHS Southside's new home in Woden

| Claire Fenwicke
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Artist's impression new CAMHS Southside reception

The Woden CAMHS Southside service will relocate to Bowes Place in early 2024. Photo: Supplied.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Southside is expected to have its new home completed by the end of the year, with construction well underway at Bowes Place in Woden.

CAMHS Southside has been in the Callam Offices since 2001, but a tender was awarded earlier this year to create its new home closer to public facilities and the Woden Town Centre.

The refurbishment of the 1032 sqm space will allow for more fit-for-purpose therapeutic care for children and young people experiencing issues with their mental health.

There will be a parents’ room for families with younger children, a purpose-designed therapeutic arts and play activities space, and more interview rooms for client sessions.

“They’ll be safe and welcoming spaces for our clinicians to work therapeutically with young people who have a presentation of mental health,” CAHMS senior manager of communication teams Kirsten Stafford said.

“Being accessible in terms of [our proximity to] Woden Town Centre means our clients will be able to find us much easier.”

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More than $5 million was allocated through capital investment to relocate the service.

Mental Health Minister Emma Davidson said given the southside team had seen about 5000 clients last year, the decision to provide them with a more modern space was an easy one.

“This means more room to provide therapeutic care to children and young people who have been having a really hard time,” she said.

“Some of the upgrades include a new waiting room near the main reception that supports young people to regulate in a low-stimulus environment if they need it, modern treatment spaces for assessments and an overall aesthetic design to appeal to young people and their families or carers.

“It’s going to be beautiful.”

Stakeholders, staff and young people with lived experience have been involved in designing the space to make it feel as welcoming and comfortable as possible while still being able to function and provide mental health support.

The building is also undergoing full electrification to align with future standards.

The fit-out is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the service to relocate from its Callam Offices space in early 2024.

The ACT’s CAMHS centres operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. To make an appointment or receive more information, call CAMHS Northside (02 5124 1407) or CAMHS Southside (02 5124 3133). Details of support will be determined with the CAMHS team based on your situation.

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