New Partnership Aims To Expand Behavioral Health Services
By Author Name
May 18, 2022
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Learn more about SCL Health's Behavioral Health services.
Life is filled with joy and accomplishments, but it also comes with plenty of struggles and challenges – and sometimes, those burdens become overwhelming and are too heavy for a person to carry on their own. That’s when qualified and caring professionals can step in to provide the help and support needed to navigate mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
Helping patients identify and work through a problem, gain new perspectives and regain a sense of control in their lives is something SCL Health caregivers throughout Colorado, Montana and Northern Wyoming are passionate about. SCL Health is committed to developing new and innovative ways to improve access and establish partnerships that will enhance the health of all those they serve.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in the need for access to both inpatient and outpatient services,” said Karen Masters, director of nursing and operations at SCL Health West Pines, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare facility on the SCL Health Lutheran Medical Center campus in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. “Patients are having trouble finding placements for the inpatient treatment and care they need.”
Nationwide, one in five adults experience mental illness each year and over 12 million people have serious thoughts of suicide. To help meet the growing demand for these services, SCL Health West Pines has recently teamed up with Acadia Healthcare, a national leader in the behavioral healthcare industry.
“The partnership with Acadia Healthcare will allow us to continue our long-standing commitment to providing behavioral health services to our community,” said Andrea Burch, SCL Health Lutheran Medical Center's chief operating officer. “It allows us to grow the community’s access to compassionate, safe, and high-quality behavioral health services through Acadia's extensive expertise in this partnership. The joint venture will significantly expand access to high-quality inpatient behavioral healthcare in the Denver Metro area.”
One big focus of the partnership is constructing a new behavioral healthcare hospital anticipated to open sometime during the first quarter of 2024.
“When SCL Health decided to build a replacement Lutheran Medical Center at a new location, our vision for the future included the same commitment to our community to provide the behavioral health services it needs,” said Burch. “SCL Health and Acadia Healthcare share a common mission — to improve health in the community we serve. The new facility will offer expanded access to a continuum of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services.”
A fixture in the Denver region for more than 30 years, West Pines currently offers a full range of mental healthcare services, including inpatient and outpatient psychiatric and substance abuse programs, adult and geriatric psychiatric units, a medical detox unit, transcranial magnetic stimulation, a medication management clinic, a recreational therapy gym, and a recovery advocate program.
“We’re often at capacity, and the new building will significantly increase our number of inpatient beds,” said Masters.
The new hospital's location is still under consideration but will be sited somewhere in the northwest Denver metro area, with more details forthcoming.
Even with so many in need, Masters said there’s still a stigma regarding seeking out behavioral health services.
“People think they’re alone in their struggles, which leads to suicide attempts — 1.2 million in 2020 alone — and substance abuse disorders,” she pointed out. “We’ve got to find healthier ways to cope. Without removing the stigma, we’ll continue to isolate ourselves and each other. Everyone needs the safety of access to mental healthcare. It’s about all of us.”
For more information, visit westpinesrecovery.org.