An Urban Hub To Support Mental Health

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney has been delivering mental health care and support services to the community since 1868 when the Sisters of Charity opened one of Australia’s first mental health facilities in Darlinghurst. Since then, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney has been a leading provider of results-driven mental health services, with our early intervention programs, inpatient, and outreach community services making sure we meet the needs of our local community. Access to effective and timely mental health care is even more vital now with so many in our community affected by the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

St Vincent’s has been planning to expand our targeted community-based mental health care programs following the purchase of the Green Park Hotel Darlinghurst, which will provide the community with a “gateway” to the full range of St Vincent’s mental health, alcohol and drug services through an Urban Health Hub and Safe Haven Café. Progress has already been made to transform the site into a multi-function centre with the core focus of being a safe, welcoming, non-clinical space offering a range of innovative healthcare programs.


The Urban Health Centre will promote independence in achieving health goals, educating about prevention, recovery and wellness. The local community will be empowered to contribute to the design of the service so that their health needs are met. The aim is to set the standard for innovative and collaborative healthcare for the community by breaking down the barriers to accessing healthcare.


The Safe Haven Café is a model that has been successfully trialed at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. It is part of the NSW Government’s Towards Zero suicide prevention strategy and is an important pathway to reduce pressure on the Emergency Department by offering a safe alternative to admission to Hospital. It will be a warm and welcoming space for people experiencing a suicidal crisis. “Last week I was about to take my own life – this week I’ve got so much support and I am surrounded by inspirational people” said a recent patient who used this new service.

Peer workers will operate in a non-clinical environment and provide referrals to community-based services and organisations. Importantly, the service will operate when and how it is most needed, during evenings and weekends, and as a drop-in support centre for adults experiencing loneliness, personal difficulties, or simply seeking social connection.


A welcoming therapy space will incorporate arts, yoga, and group therapy sessions run by senior psychologists, exercise
and arts therapy specialists. Guided conversations, physical, art and music therapy have been shown to provide distraction from negative thoughts, while also allowing for positive social interaction with others.