A new 20-bed youth residential rehabilitation facility in Traralgon operated by Uniting Vic.Tas was officially opened today by the Victorian Health Minister, Martin Foley.
The purpose-built facility provides a structured live-in residential setting where young people aged 16 to 25 years are supported to address their alcohol and drug-related issues.
Minister Foley was joined at the opening by Uniting Vic.Tas Executive General Manager Silvia Alberti and the Victorian Health Building Authority CEO Robert Fiske.
Ms Alberti said the centre was the result of a partnership between Uniting Vic.Tas, the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative and the Victorian Government and would address a long-standing need in the region.
“We know there is a real need for alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs in Gippsland and we believe this facility will make a real difference and help many young people to get their lives back on track,” she said.
“As well as a live-in program with around-the-clock clinical care, the treatment includes activities that support lasting behavioural change including social and life skills development, relapse prevention, individual counselling and group work.
“What sets our program apart is on top of the three months rehabilitation, we also provide a one-month transition where young people can return home and resume work or study while continuing to receive support.
“We also have an outreach service where young people are allocated a dedicated case worker who provides pre-admission support including home visits and regularly check-ins on their wellbeing.”
One of the first young people to complete the program was 19-year-old Alex* from Bright who arrived seeking treatment for both alcohol and substance use.
“This program saved my life,” Alex said.
“I tried multiple detox programs and hospital admissions and nothing worked. I really needed a place where the main purpose was helping with addiction. I was needing something long term, away from home to gather myself and learn about myself and being in a safe space.”
This is the longest time Alex has been substance free since he was 14 years-old. He is now looking to support others going through the program and wants to work in the alcohol and drug treatment field in the future.
*The name of the person featured in this story has been changed to protect their identity.