Yarra Council approves mental health hospital despite objections from Alphington Grammar

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A 32-bed mental health hospital will be developed in Melbourne’s inner north-west after it received approval by the Yarra City Council on Tuesday night, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The facility will be developed just off Heidelberg Road in Alphington, despite objections from families, staff and students from nearby Alphington Grammar School.

The hospital will be run by Healthe Care and would cater to patients with mild mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and would exclude those with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse.

The Council approved the mental health hospital during a planning decisions committee meeting on Tuesday night, with Councillor Anab Mohamud acknowledging the development was a complex issue, but said there was high demand for mental health support.

According to The SMH, the council was flooded with almost 200 objections to the proposal, many submitted by the families of children enrolled at Alphington Grammar.

The proposed site of the mental hospital near Alphington Grammar School. Photo: SMH.

Alphington Grammar School principal Vivianne Nikou spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting and said the facility had proposed inadequate reporting mechanisms if safety issues cropped up.

“Students in primary school particularly are at a highly impressionable age, and interactions with strangers can be very detrimental to their own psychological development,” Ms Nikou said, while proposing the land behind the facility be taken off the roads register and sold to the land owners of the school.

Councillor Bridgid O’Brien, who was also on the committee, added an amendment to the successful proposal for a 1.8-metre-high fence to be erected at the mental health hospital near the grammar school.

She said there will be further ongoing work around the risk assessment issues, done by the appropriate medical authorities.

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