Two new mental health facilities to open in Peoria

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 7:20 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Kaiser Health News reported that suicide rates nationally were on the rise for the first time in two years, and in adolescences it was up higher.

Local health care systems said they were aware of the problem and are working to fix it.

“Our children and our adolescences really need our help in terms of behavioral health,” President of UnityPoint UnityPlace Mary Sparks-Thompson said.

OSF and UnityPoint are both building new centers for mental and behavioral health help for children and adults.

“We’re just honored to be working to increase mental health care for children and youth in our community,” Sparks-Thompson said.

“We’ll be able to service our communities in ways we’ve never been able to before and that’s an exciting place to be,” OSF Dr. Samuel Sears said.

UnityPoint is focusing on the youth with the purchase of the former Heddington Oaks nursing home. They plan to turn the home into a youth health center called the Young Minds Projects, providing a multitude of therapies.

“Our children and youth have different needs than adults. There’s so many features to this location that will benefit their care. Art therapy, music therapy, group therapy and it will just be a wonderful environment to provide that specialized care,” Sparks-Thompson said.

OSF is partnering with US HealthVest to open 100 new beds to offer extensive mental health care.

“Being able to bring in a large number of beds to central Illinois keeps people close to home and allows us to provide that continuity of care within the community that people reside,” Dr. Sears said.

OSF says the new facility will offer an array of mental health services – regardless of ability to pay.

“People need care, and we don’t have enough inpatient capabilities within central Illinois, so this is our opportunity to provide those resources,” OSF Dr. Ralph Velazquez said.

OSF’s center is anticipated to open in late 2024 or early 2025 and UnityPoint should open in late 2023.