DARTMOUTH — Southcoast Behavioral Health is looking to better meet the mental health needs of the area’s children and teens with the launch of a new program which doubles the capacity for those age groups from 24 to 48 beds at its in-patient Dartmouth facility.
The expansion, once complete, will make Southcoast Behavioral Health the second largest behavioral health hospital in Massachusetts, according to Southcoast Behavioral Health CEO Felicia Risick.
“We are increasing our (total) bed capacity to 192 beds,” Risick said in a press release announcing the launch of the new child and adolescent behavioral health program and associated facility expansion. “With the addition of a pediatric service line, we can now serve patients through the lifespan, thus aiming to broadly extend healing throughout our communities. I want to thank the entire hospital staff and our partners for their commitment and hard work. This milestone would not be possible without you.”
Children, or pediatric patients, are those who are ages 12 and under. Patients who are between the ages of 13-17, or 18 if still attending high school, are considered adolescent. The expansion of the current 144-bed facility located at 581 Faunce Corner Road is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, according to the release.
The announcement comes as mental health care professionals in the South Coast region and beyond are facing levels of need that were already on the rise before the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020.
“The demand for behavioral health services among our youth has grown significantly during the pandemic. We currently operate at full capacity on most days. This expansion will help us better meet community need,” Southcoast Behavioral Health Director of Business Development Katlyn Audry told The Standard-Times via email. “We anticipate these new beds will be filled almost immediately upon opening given the need that exists.”
Audry noted that Southcoast Behavioral Health takes part in regularly scheduled weekly meetings of the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems to discuss current issues around boarding availability. According to its website, the association consists of 47 in-patient facilities statewide.
This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Southcoast Behavioral in Dartmouth doubling beds for children, teens