Work underway for new Canterbury mental health facility

Work underway for new Canterbury mental health facility

Structural strengthening has started on Kahurangi - Canterbury’s new child and youth mental health community outpatient facility.

Hann Construction has begun strengthening work on the building, on the outskirts of the Hillmorton campus. The former laundry building is being transformed into Kahurangi, meaning blue skies, a modern, purpose-designed facility for children up to the age of 18 to access specialist mental health community outpatient support.

The structural strengthening of the foundations and core of the existing building is expected to take six months. At the same time, the detailed design of the internal spaces and the extensive, therapeutic landscaping plan are being finalised.

 “With the builders on site, our vision for a better space for our children and young people is coming to life. While we still have a way to go to reach the $6 million required to finish this project, having the strengthening begin sends a strong signal to our young people and our community that this promised new space is on the way,” says Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman.

Māia is working alongside Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury to develop the new youth outpatient facility.  

Māia’s $6 million commitment is enabling a state-of-the-art fit-out, specialised treatment areas, and a separate entrance for emergency presentations, which will provide security and privacy to those who are most vulnerable. So far Māia has raised $3.5 million towards its $6 million goal.

The tender for the main contractor for the fit-out of the building will be released once design is completed and it is expected construction will begin on this next phase of the project in 2023.

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury Executive Director Infrastructure Dr Rob Ojala says seeing work start on the new facility is very special for everyone working in mental health and those they care for.

“Our Specialist Mental Health Service team has worked tirelessly to support the increasing number of young people who need our help. Seeing work begin on this fabulous new facility fills us with excitement and hope for what the future will bring, and the difference this facility will make.

“Māia’s support has meant that we have been able to really enhance this facility, adding features such as the sensory room and outdoor area which will support our clinicians as they deliver care to our children and young people,” says Dr Ojala.

Kahurangi will replace existing facilities, which are split across two sites at The Princess Margaret Hospital site and the Hillmorton campus. The current facilities are old, run-down, and outdated and do not support modern treatment.  Difficulty securing funding for a new facility sparked Māia Health Foundation’s board to commit to helping find and fund a solution.

“It was more than three years ago when the Māia Health Foundation board unanimously committed to making child and youth mental health Māia’s next major focus. They saw the tsunami of need facing our youth mental health services and knew our health system needed support to be able to provide a warm, welcoming place where we could offer the very best, modern care to our city’s future,” says Michael Flatman.

Kahurangi will include state-of-the-art spaces for assessments, play and family therapies; spacious group therapy spaces; purpose-built clinical rooms for physical needs; a dedicated outdoor space; a welcoming environment and sensory room; and a whānau room. It is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

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