A Development Approval (DA) has been granted to enable the construction of a Northern Beaches Mental Health Hub (NBMHH) in Frenchs Forest, which has been in slow transition for six years following an initial 2017 DA for an unspecified ‘private hospital’.
The new purpose-built private mental health facility, an eight-storey building at 11 Tilley Lane, Frenchs Forest, will provide 80 beds and specialist care for people requiring mental health treatment.
Walt Coulston, CEO of CK Property Group, which will oversee the construction of the 5,400sqm amenity, told Manly Observer, “Planning in Sydney is never easy, however, it is truly fantastic news and we can now get on with the job of making a material benefit to people’s lives, who are in their time of need.
“Northern Beaches Council and Interim Chief Executive Officer Louise Kerr in particular need special thanks and recognition for their support of this key essential service.”
In October 2021, the NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) released the initial details of the proposed ‘Northern Beaches Health Hub’ at 11 Tilley Lane, Frenchs Forest – now fully approved.
The report stated: “The proposed development would be for a private mental health facility and associated services, known as Northern Beaches Health Hub (NBHH) [since updated to the NBMHH], and includes the construction of: • Eight (8) storey private hospital building with 3 levels of basement; • Circa 80 bed facility and consulting rooms; • 73 basement parking spaces and 4 at ground level spaces (total 77 spaces); • Total GFA of 4,969 sqm (Basement 130sqm, Ground 166 sqm, L1-6 731 sqm, L7 287sqm); • Roof terrace; • Associated landscaping.”
The report was prepared by Willowtree Planning Pty Ltd on behalf of PMK Investment Services and CK Property Group.
CK Properties have a diverse portfolio of construction projects across Australia, including apartments, retail stores, childcare centres and medical facilities. On the Northern Beaches, they were responsible for the construction of 200 apartments adjacent to the Dee Why Shopping Centre.
Call for more beds for mental health
However, despite the recent approval to begin construction of the much-needed facility, campaigners for expanded mental health treatment facilities on the Northern Beaches called for more beds to treat those in need.
A 1647-signature petition on Change.org, started in November 2021, demands not just the fast-tracking of the hospital construction, which appeared to be in limbo since 2017, but a significant increase in patient beds.
The petition states: “Once approved, the purpose-built mental health facility is set to provide up to 96 beds to help stem the catastrophic trend of increasing suicide and self-harm cases. There’s perhaps never been a more urgent time of need for additional mental health beds, especially to help take the pressure off the major Hospital Emergency Departments (ED’s).”
Explaining the need for more beds, the petition states: “The number of 12-17 year old’s presenting to hospital ED’s with self-harm injuries increased by nearly 50% for the year to July 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.
“The Northern Beaches is particularly at risk with data indicating a shortfall of up to 145 acute mental health beds. Pittwater also has one of the highest rates of suicide between the ages of 15 and 24 anywhere in greater Sydney, higher than the Eastern Suburbs, the Shire, the Inner West, Parramatta or Penrith.”
Manly Observer asked Walt Coulston of CK Property whether an amendment to the DA would be sought.
Mr Coulston, whose company has spent over $1 million on the Development Application, explained, “We’re capped at 80 beds and we’re out of room/land, so no more overflow is possible. You’re certainly right the demand is much larger than this, however that’s all we can provide for on this site in this opportunity.”
An ongoing stoush over delays in the provision of a government-funded youth-focused mental health unit at Northern Beaches Hospital is a separate matter, and will be covered in upcoming articles.
Northern Beaches Hospital opened in 2018 and was funded in a private-public partnership between Healthscope and the NSW government.
NSW Government NBMHH project details: https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/northern-beaches-mental-health-hub
CK Property Group original description of the Northern Beaches Health Hub – since updated to the Northern Beaches Mental Health Hub due to its specialist mental health treatment focus: https://ckpropertygroup.com.au/project/northern-beaches-health-hub/
Below are some useful resources for those experiencing distress
Crisis Support Services
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
You will be able to speak with a clinician who can provide recommendations about how to manage your situation or put you in contact with an appropriate mental health team.
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
The Suicide Call Back Service provides free professional telephone and online counselling for anyone affected by suicide.
Kids Help Line – 1800 551 800
1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732
A service for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
Local Mental Health Services
Your local GP
Call your local GP who can provide advice on mental health and local services.
Northern Beaches Hospital – Mental Health – 9105 6301
Consumer-centred care with active involvement from family and carers.
Northern Beaches Community Mental Health Service – 1800 011 511
Provides specialised, comprehensive care coordination for persons 18 – 65 years of age who have a serious mental illness and people significantly affected by mental health problems.
The Seasons Program – CCNB 1300 000 125
Engages with a person in the first 12 weeks following an attempted suicide by coordinating emotional, clinical and practical support.
One Door Health Care – 9199 6143
Provides specialised mental health services, psychological and physical health services, individual support, and assistance transitioning to the NDIS.
One Door Pioneer Clubhouse – 9907 9999
Pioneer Clubhouse is a community based program, and a safe, supportive, respectful environment for people living with mental illness.
Lifeline Northern Beaches – 9949 5522
Provides counselling, financial counselling and offers a range of support groups including gambling, bereavement or caring for a suicidal person.
Family and Carer Mental Health Service – 8599 4855
Provides individual support to anyone related to, living with, or caring for a person experiencing a mental health issue.
A private hospital based in South Curl Curl which provides treatment for addiction, trauma and mental health conditions.
Child & Youth Mental Health Service – Northern Beaches
Provides specialist mental health intervention to children and young people with severe and complex mental health problems and their families.
Northern Beaches Youth & Family Counselling Service 9976 1486
Provides a free, flexible, tailored service in a safe, confidential and friendly space for young people aged between 12 and 18 years and their family living on the Northern Beaches.
Karrikin Youth Mental Health Service – 1800 937 776
Supports young people between 12 and 25 experiencing complex to severe mental health concerns. Karrikin is a mobile and assertive outreach mental health treatment service providing multidisciplinary case management
Headspace Brookvale – 9937 6500
Support for young people aged between 12 and 25 years with mild to moderate mental health needs.
Avalon Youth Hub – 0487 936 875
Drop in and referrals, workshops, events and outreach for young people aged between 12 and 25 and their families.
Gidget Foundation Australia – 1300 851 758
Gidget Foundation Australia provides counselling and group programs to support the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents. Available locally at Gidget House, Manly.