SANTA MARIA — Marian Regional Medical Center recently held a blessing for its new Behavioral Health Outpatient Unit.
The BHOU is scheduled to open in the near future. When that happens, it will be open 24 hours a day for intervention, assessment, evaluation, therapy and support for those experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a news release.
The BHOU, which is the result of years of preparation, will be staffed with specially trained psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and support staff.
Instead of waiting in the Santa Maria hospital’s Emergency Department for a transfer to an out-of-county inpatient mental health facility, patients will be seen by the BHOU as soon as they are medically cleared. That will mean the start of early treatment, according to the news release.
“Every year, nearly one in five people suffer from an acute psychiatric illness and would benefit from treatment,” Dr. David Ketelaar said. “Mental health conditions were increasing in all age groups prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated this increase dramatically, making the need even more urgent, and we are committed to supporting local behavioral health services to meet the needs of our community.”
The Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation, meanwhile, has created opportunities for a public record of those who have contributed generously to making the BHOU a reality. Gifts in support of the unit may be pledged over a three- to five-year period.
For more information, visit www.supportmarianmedical.org/behavioralhealth.
— Dave Mason