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Southlake to help 2,000 patients annually with new mental health unit

Southlake officially opened the new in-patient mental health unit
Local politicians and Southlake staff celebrate the completion of the mental health unit with a ribbon cutting.

Southlake's new in-patient mental health unit is officially open, increasing capacity to 2,000 patients annually. 

Local members of government joined hospital officials for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 13 to mark the completion of the new unit, which has been in the works for the past couple years. 

The in-patient adult unit will have 12 beds and specialized equipment and furnishings to meet the needs of mental health patients.

Currently, there are 24 beds in the unit which will be increased to 36. There will also be spaces for social interaction and recreation to better improve patient experience. The new unit features a common area for group therapy or dining, interview rooms for more privacy while receiving care, and a large nursing station to improve staff experience and allow for 360-degree monitoring. 

“We are thrilled to be opening this new unit to increase access to mental health care in our community,” said Southlake President and CEO Arden Krystal. “Thanks to the investment from the Ontario government and the generosity of our donors, we are able to care for more patients in a space that is suited specifically for their needs.”

An average of 17 people come into Southlake's emergency department each day experiencing a mental health crisis, the hospital said. For patients admitted, the average stay in the mental health unit is about 14.5 days. 

The hospital estimates that this unit will allow it to serve 400 additional patients each year for a total of 2,000. 

In 2021, the provincial government made a $6.5 million to support the expansion of Southlake's mental health unit. 

“Our government is proud to help expand inpatient mental health capacity at Southlake,” said Sylvia Jones, deputy premier and minister of health. “This new adult inpatient mental health unit will allow patients in York Region to connect to the mental health care they need, closer to home.”

The community also contributed to the project through Southlake Foundation's Better Begins Today mental health fundraising campaign which raised $7.5 million. 

"We are so grateful to our community of donors who stepped up so powerfully to support this campaign and have allowed us to build a place of peace, dignity, and security, for patients in crisis, close to home. It’s an extraordinary achievement we can all be proud of,” said Jennifer Ritter, CEO of the foundation. 

The new unit will begin serving patients at the end of this month. 

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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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