Lakeland, FL – In November 2019, the City of Lakeland and Lakeland Regional Health announced an unprecedented investment in our community aimed to lift up those with behavioral health needs and help lessen their distress and challenges. The project, which was slated for completion in 2021, was temporarily put on hold to focus efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lakeland Regional Health Board of Directors met in August 2020 and unanimously voted to continue the work to develop the Center for Behavioral Health & Wellness on the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center Campus.
Good behavioral health means a thriving community, but behavioral health problems can impede people’s abilities to realize their potential, cope with stresses, work productively, and make contributions to their communities. The burden of mental illness on a community also can create challenges associated with homelessness, poverty and substance abuse that can cause stress on the community’s health, education and public safety systems. Today’s announcement is a community collaboration between the City of Lakeland and Lakeland Regional Health aimed to alleviate the health and social challenges that are inextricably linked to behavioral health in order to make life better in Lakeland.
“We are so grateful to our board members for their unprecedented support of Lakeland Regional Health’s efforts to expand behavioral health services for Lakeland and the surrounding areas,” said Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, Lakeland Regional Health President and CEO Elect. “Without their dedication to see each resident of our community lead productive, high-quality and healthy lives, we would not be able to focus on this much-needed area of care that will be transformational for patients.”
The revised timeline for the completion of construction is now 2022. This behavioral health hospital for adolescents and adults will allow for expanded care and co-location of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services for enhanced continuum of care in a safe, welcoming and relaxed environment.
The Center for Behavioral Health & Wellness will focus on several areas of service:
- Emergency Stabilization
- Adult Inpatient Care
- Substance Abuse Disorders
- Memory Disorders
- Child and Adolescent Inpatient Services
- Adult Outpatient Care
- Child and Adolescent Outpatient Care
- Family Behavioral Health and Wellness
- Non-Residential Intensive Behavioral Health Programs
The free standing building will be designed around the therapeutic and healing properties of natural light and other visual aspects of the patient environment to reduce stress and encourage healing. According to published research, natural daylight and evening darkness drive circadian rhythm responses that influence emotional and mental state. Research also shows that excessive noise is associated with stress for patients and team members. In addition, the facility design includes secure outdoor space for patients and families, which also has been scientifically shown to contribute to better outcomes.
“Behavioral healthcare needs are growing at a dramatic rate,” Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz said. “The City of Lakeland and Lakeland Regional Health partnership will provide progressive care and the capacity to meet these critical needs. Both organizations are committed to improving the quality of life in Lakeland and across Polk County.”
In Polk County, the ratio of the population to mental health providers is 1,400:1. In both the 2011 and 2014 Community Health Assessment, conducted by the Florida Department of Health, Polk Vision, other local not-for-profit hospitals and numerous health agencies, Polk County residents reported mental health issues and substance abuse to be critical health problems and urgent risks to their health and safety. About 25% of Lakeland’s population is affected by mental health issues or substance abuse every year, and many of them end up in the emergency room, on the streets or incarcerated.
Currently, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center has 68 beds for adult and adolescent behavioral healthcare, including depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and memory disorders, and serves as a Baker Act receiving hospital. In 2019 alone, Lakeland Regional Health cared for more than 5,500 Baker Act cases.
About Lakeland Regional Health
Not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health reaches beyond its hospital walls to promote wellness, education and discovery in new places and new ways, providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services at its Medical Center, Hollis Cancer Center and ambulatory care locations. Lakeland Regional Health earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status five times since 2013 from the American Hospital Association and has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review. Its 864-bed comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, operates the Jack and Tina Harrell Family Institute for Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine; a Level II Trauma Center; the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, which includes a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; and the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine.