$10M health center to open

Mental health center in downtown Springfield to improve patient flow, safety.

A new $10 million mental health facility will begin offering in-patient and out-patient services to the public Monday.

As many as 5,000 patients use Mental Health Services for Clark and Madison Counties annually, and the new 31,000-square-foot center aims to create better patient flow and safety.

The center employs about 180 people, making it a top 50 employer in Clark County.

Mental Health considered relocating from its existing building near the former Mercy Medical Center campus on North Fountain Avenue several years ago after learning a new Springfield Regional Medical Center would open downtown.

Now located across from the downtown hospital at 474 N. Yellow Springs St., the facility will work cooperatively with Springfield Regional to provide mental health services to patients across the region, said Dr. James Perry, Mental Health Services chief executive officer.

Dave Lamb, spokesman for Springfield Regional, said the hospital is pleased to have its old neighbor back.

“Locating their new facility adjacent to our emergency department can only strengthen our partnership. Their presence also fortifies the area around the hospital as the medical hub of the community,” he said.

The agency deals with “the most seriously mentally ill,” Perry said, from those with thought disorders such as schizophrenia to bi-polar disorder, severe depression, anxiety and life crises.

Mental health services have never been in greater demand, Perry said. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, close to 418,000 Ohioans live with serious mental illness.

“There is a shortage of facilities, a shortage of resources (and) money,” he said. “Right now we treat those people who have no coverage, either with the mental health services tax levy or we simply don’t get paid for it.”

The 16 beds available for in-patient services are already full, Perry said. Patients from the existing facility will have their items transported Monday morning to the new building during breakfast, with them soon following via ambulance.

Appointments have already been booked for that morning in the new center. While many similar facilities have waiting lists for out-patient services, Perry said his staff members will accept walk-ins.

“There is no wait and they can walk in for emergency services,” he said.

MHS will hold a public ribbon cutting and open house Friday at noon. For more information on services or to schedule an appointment, call 937-399-9500.

The new building was paid for with a $5 million, 20-year loan, as well as savings from the agency.

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