02 August 2020

New mothers with severe mental illness will soon be able to access care alongside their babies, with the site of NSW’s first public purpose-built Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) announced today at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the specialised Mother and Baby Unit is a crucial development in the delivery of mental healthcare in NSW.

“This unit will be accessible to new mums and mums-to-be across the state who require care in a hospital for a perinatal (immediately before and after birth) mental illness,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want these women to receive the specialist mental health care they need, as well as the opportunity to form a bond with their babies in those all-important formative months.”

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the unit will support up to 120 women with acute or ongoing severe mental illness from across the state each year.

“Perinatal mental illness can impact a parent’s relationship with their baby, family dynamics and the ongoing development of a child,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We want to ensure that women receive the best possible treatment, with their partners and family’s involvement, so children and families can thrive.”

Each of the eight bedrooms at the MBU will be able to accommodate a mother, up to two infants under 12-months of age and a partner or family member.

The MBU will also include space and equipment for antenatal care, a 24-hour respite nursery, a mothercraft room, a play area, a retreat room and communal areas to accommodate multiple families with children.

The MBU at RPA is expected to open by the end of 2021. A second MBU at Westmead Hospital is also in the initial planning stage.

Mother and Baby Units are part of the NSW Government’s $700 million statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program – the single biggest investment in mental health infrastructure to date.

View renders of the Mother and Baby Unit​