In a crucial development in the delivery of mental healthcare in NSW, new mothers with severe mental illness will soon be able to access care alongside their babies.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor announced the state’s first public purpose-built acute Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) 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 is expected to open by the end of 2021, with a second also in the initial planning stage.