The Cottage adolescent mental health program refurbished
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The Cottage adolescent mental health program refurbished

Kate can attest to the importance of a bright, homely space when recovering from mental ill-health.

The year 12 student went through The Cottage Adolescent Day Program in 2015. Returning to the facility on Monday, refurbished with funds from the ACT government and Canberra businesses, she beamed as she described the changes.

"Kate", former young mental health patient, returns to the newly refurbished Cottage Youth Mental Health facility?a joint effort on part of the ACT Government and a number of local Canberra businesses to provide a welcoming space for young people accessing mental health services.

"Kate", former young mental health patient, returns to the newly refurbished Cottage Youth Mental Health facility?a joint effort on part of the ACT Government and a number of local Canberra businesses to provide a welcoming space for young people accessing mental health services.Credit:Karleen Minney

"It was a bit tired before but now it's so bright and it's so fresh and wonderful," Kate said.

"If you're in a really good environment and good space that can help you feel a bit better."

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Kate, a former mental health patient, returns to the newly refurbished Cottage Youth Mental Health facility.

Kate, a former mental health patient, returns to the newly refurbished Cottage Youth Mental Health facility.Credit:Karleen Minney

The Cottage helps about 40 12 to 18-year-olds experiencing a mental health condition every year, equal to about 10 each term.

Days are split between schooling and therapy, with counselling, rehabilitation, creative arts sessions, education and individual clinical management on offer to help students achieve their recovery goals.

The revamp, which has so far cost about $88,000, covered the kitchen, two consultation rooms, a lounge area and outdoor areas.

"Everything about it [has changed]," Kate said.

"It's so much more open. It had a lot of walls before and now it's really open plan and it's just so cool."

Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury said adolescent mental ill-health was an increasing problem in Canberra, and paid tribute to the Canberra businesses joining forces to fight for better outcomes.

"We are seeing for young people mental health concerns are becoming a more pressing issue, we need to have the right facilities here in Canberra to support them in those times of need," he said.

"I think we do need to do more to support young people here in Canberra ... We are seeing a greater prevalence, an increasing prevalence of mental health issues among young people."

Emily Baker is a reporter for the Sunday Canberra Times. She previously reported on education for The Canberra Times.

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