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Nation’s First Dedicated Women’s Mental Health Service Opens

On 1 December 2023 Minister for Mental Health Ingrid Stitt launched Australia’s first dedicated public women’s mental health service, a landmark initiative making it easier and safer for Victorian women to access the specialist care they need in a private setting.

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System found many women experienced gender-based harm or abuse in the mental health system and this unique health service will support women to recover in an inclusive, respectful and welcoming setting that meets the level of acute care they require.

The Specialist Women’s Mental Health Service – which will now be known as Women’s Recovery Network (Wren) – will enable more than 750 women each year to access tailored and dedicated therapeutic mental health care and has been co-designed in consultation with women with lived experience of the mental health system.

Operated by Alfred Health and GV Health, alongside private provider Ramsay Health Care, the service will deliver inclusive care for women who have experienced trauma and sexual abuse, present with eating disorders or have experienced perinatal mental health concerns.

Located in Melbourne and Shepparton, the innovative service model combines a mix of inpatient beds and Hospital in the Home care, giving women the option to receive high-quality treatment, care and support in the safety of a facility or in the comfort of their own home.

The Melbourne service on Albert Road includes 35 mental health beds – 24 inpatient beds and six Hospital in the Home beds – while Shepparton women can access one of five hospital beds.