A new residential-style mental health facility has been opened in Canberra's south, and authorities say it will stop people having to be admitted to hospital.
The "Step Up Step Down" facility, located near the Canberra Hospital in Garran, has six bedrooms where patients can stay for periods of up to two weeks.
ACT Mental Health Minister Emma Davidson said the facility focused on "prevention and recovery-focused care".
"It provides early intervention support as soon as a person becomes mentally unwell, to prevent deterioration in a person's mental health and [them] having to end up with a hospital or an acute inpatient admission," she said.
"It also provides transitional support for people who are exiting acute mental health inpatient units and returning to their home environment and the community to provide sustainable long-term outcomes."
Ms Davidson said the new Step Up Step Down service, now among five in the ACT, would reduce the time mental health patients would spend with acute services.
According to the latest ACT Health quarterly performance report, the average length of stay for mental health patients in the public system was about 17 days.
A mental health expert earlier this year lamented that Canberrans needing mental health treatment were being left with no option but to attend hospital because of a shortfall in community-based services.
Sebastian Rosenberg, from the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University, said acute hospitalisation was both "expensive and often traumatic".
"We know that the vast majority of 'episodes' include many missed opportunities to intervene earlier and provide the support necessary to diminish the severity of the impacts of mental illness," he said.
Productivity Commission data also showed the number of Canberrans who were discharged from a mental health ward and were subsequently readmitted within 28 days was on the rise.
Ms Davidson on Friday said the new facility gave patients "a gentle step down" out of acute settings.
She said it was part of the ACT government's 2018-19 Budget commitment to put $22.8 million towards more supported accommodation for people with mental illness.
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"This is a much needed boost to our sub-acute supported accommodation currently available," Ms Davidson said.
"It will provide support for up to six adults aged 18 to 65 years old at any one time.
"It provides a rehabilitative residential setting with psychosocial support available on site 24 hours a day, and clinical support seven days a week."
Watson's Step Up Step Down facility had five beds and serviced people between the ages of 13 and 17.
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