The entrance to the Adult Mental Health Unit

A state-of-the-art mental health unit is located on the campus of Canberra Hospital. It was officially opened in March 2012.

The unit represents a significant enhancement in the range of mental health services available to the community. The holistic care of mental health patients is important in focussing on their recovery.

The unit was designed to be consumer focussed - providing supportive and safe care in an environment that promotes recovery. Its development included broad consultation, and extensive input from consumer/carer groups and staff, on a new model of care in which staff are more actively engaged with consumers.

The 40-bed Adult Mental Health Unit replaced the existing Psychiatric Services Unit. It provides specialised care and treatment for people with mental illness who need short-term intensive therapy where less restrictive options aren't suitable or available.

The aim is to provide supportive and safe care leading to recovery and a pathway to healing for consumers. The new unit also provides more open visiting arrangements and greater opportunities for families to visit and provide support in a new purpose built, and least restrictive, environment.

The Facility

A wall in a garden courtyard within the Adult Mental Health Unit

The Adult Mental Health Unit includes a 10-bed high dependency wing and 30 low dependency beds in two wings. It has been designed to allow for possible expansion to a 50-bed facility in the future.

Offices are on the upper level, linked to the Canberra Hospital's multi-storey Southern Car Park via an elevated walkway.

The design incorporates maximum use of natural light to take best advantage of the unit’s south westerly orientation. The choice of colours, flooring, finishes, furniture and fittings all combine to make the new facility a centre of excellence.

In addition to the high dependency wing and the low dependency beds, the facilty also includes a central socialisation, living and dining space; a therapies wing; and support areas for treatment, assessment, staff, visitors and reception. The dedicated therapy and recreation areas maximise the effectiveness of the therapeutic program.

The bedroom wings are built around external courtyards, as are the therapy areas. A smaller courtyard separates the socialisation area from the reception and visitors’ areas. Open space to the west and south provide gardens, recreation area, amphitheatre, and a walking track.

The design of the new unit has placed a strong emphasis on creating a flexible, consumer centred, recovery-based therapeutic environment with improved amenity for bedrooms, socialisation and outdoor areas as well as improved areas for staff operations and improved staff amenities.

More information about adult mental health services in the ACT is available from the Mental Health Services section of the ACT Health website.

Further information

For more information about this Health Infrastructure Program project email: