A NEW mental health facility has been officially opened in North Belfast thanks to a joined-up approach to patient care.
Launched by mental health organisation Threshold, the Clearwater House facility is located in Brookhill Avenue, off the Antrim Road.
The multi-million pound residential facility is the first of its kind in the north and helps patients integrate back into the community after discharge from acute psychiatric wards.
It will provide 22 beds for specialist care for patients with severe or chronic mental illness.
The new accommodation will significantly improve the services offered, with more modern, comfortable and secure surroundings and was made possible through an innovative partnership between the Housing Executive, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Choice Housing and Threshold.
Dr Raman Kapur, consultant clinical psychologist and the facility's chief executive, said the facility will allow patients to live independently after being discharged from hospital.
“Essentially it takes patients from the Mater Hospital off their psychiatric unit and gives them a home for two to three years,” he said.
“So it helps them in their recovery from mental illness to go on to live more independent lives.
“It's a big step to go back home after being with us for two to three years particularly if people come from hospital but we do a lot of preparation to help people get their independence.
“Often they go back either into their family home or a home of their own.
“Patients have to go back into the big wide world and because we're community-based we can help people to do that within a community setting, within a supported living setting.
“They get the emotional help they need to put their mind back together again so eventually they can begin to live independently,” added Dr Kapur.