The official handing over of keys on February 15 marked a new era of mental health service provision in Port Macquarie.
At the new mental health unit at the Port Macquarie Base Hospital, years of advocacy and hard work paid off for staff, mental health consumers and officials at the official unveiling.
Sara Shaughnessy, director of mental health and integrated care for the Local Health District said the opening of the new unit represented a collaboration between mental health consumers and the Local Health District.
"The new unit is a bright, contemporary space which will deliver leading mental health services to people in Port Macquarie," Ms Shaughnessy
"At every stage of the project consumers of mental health have been involved so we can ensure the unit can best support people as they work towards recovery.
"Today is an acknowledgment of how far we have come and to tell people we are ready to go. Our plans have come to fruition and we are ready to provide a new level of care to those people in need."
Ms Shaughnessy said the new unit has designated accessible spaces and easy access to fresh air.
"Today in stage 1 we are opening 12 rooms which will begin to get used in the coming weeks."
Nicholas Kosseris, consumer partnership coordinator said it was a historic day.
"At every stage our consumer group has been consulted and offered suggestions of what we think should be included and we are very happy with the collaborative end result," Mr Kosseris said.
"We have been involved since this unit was just an idea and with a lot of team work we have been able to make something great.
"Together we have been able to create a wonderful environment and for those experiencing mental health issues environment is everything when in recovery.
"The unit will give those working towards recovery a sense of normalcy which is something the consumer group really advocated for."
Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said it was a fantastic day for the region.
"The handing over of the keys for stage 1 of the new mental health unit project is a significant milestone for Port Macquarie," Mrs Williams said.
"The unit is a significant addition to an incredible hospital and will cater to both adults and adolescents who are experiencing mental health issues.
"This unit will make a huge difference in the lives of those who not only will use this unit but their families as well.
"As this new unit opens I think those who will benefit the most from it will say it was worth the wait."
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