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Providence Health Care to break ground on new behavioral health hospital

Providence Health Care will break ground on a new behavioral health hospital to help those struggling with mental health illnesses in our community.

It's a public health crisis most people would rather not talk about - but one that's affecting so many families in our community.

On Thursday, we told you about recent teen suicides in our community, and how you can talk to your loved ones who may be struggling.

Several of you reached out to share your stories with us. Many people say resources are limited for people in crisis in our community.

Providence Health Care tells KXLY there's a high demand for behavioral health services in our community, and they will soon break ground on a new hospital to help address that need. The hospital is in partnership with Fairfax Behavioral Health.

Right now, the corner of 5th and Browne doesn't look like much, but by next fall, it will be a new behavioral health hospital.

"We're excited," said Providence Health Care Chief Executive Dr. Kirk Rowbotham. "May 1st is the groundbreaking for the new facility down at 5th and Browne.This will net a hundred new beds to our community for behavioral health needs."

Providence says nationwide, about 5 percent of people have a behavioral health need, and in our community it's about 8 percent.

"As the only hospital in Eastern Washington providing emergency and short-term inpatient psychiatric care, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital is regularly at capacity and unable to accept additional patients from Spokane and the broader region," said Elaine Couture, chief executive of Providence Health & Services in Eastern Washington and Montana in a press release.

"This is a long standing need that we have within our community for behavioral health access that's been present for a number of years," Dr. Rowbotham said, "and this is really part of our response to that."

Construction on the $29 million three-story building will begin next month. Providence says the building will include patient rooms, treatment areas, as well as a gym, courtyard, kitchen, and ambulance bay.

"In addition to the net gain of 100 psychiatric beds, this will also add some outpatient therapy options for both behavioral health and chemical dependency," said Dr. Rowbotham.

Dr. Rowbotham explains on average, patients stay for about ten days, and this building will add much needed space for our region.

"Our facility would be for more of an acute care facility and more acute needs and stabilization," he explained, "as opposed to long care for people who don't have those options."

Dr. Rowbotham says this is just one piece of the puzzle to address mental illness in our community.

The new hospital is expected to be open in 2018.


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