Ground Broken on Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Helping those find hope when the darkness of mental illness, suicidal ideations, depression and anxiety disrupts the lives of those in the Mahoning Valley will be the mission at the new Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital on Belmont Avenue.

Dr. John Luellen, president of Mercy Health – Lorain and Youngstown, said the services are inadequate in the Mahoning Valley for those requiring mental health care, especially for those needing in-patient care. With a lack of space to grow at Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Youngstown, the new facility on Belmont Avenue will allow services to increase from the 42 inpatient beds currently available downtown to 72 beds. The new facility can be expanded up to 96 beds if need warrants it.

“The focus of this hospital is to really enhance the mental health services for those individuals in our community who are in many ways most at risk,” said Luellen, who notes people in the Mahoning Valley are challenged with anxiety and depression, as well as long-standing mental challenges like schizophrenia.

Partnering with Lifepoint Behavioral Health and Lifepoint Rehabilitation, Mercy Health broke ground Tuesday on the Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital, a 62,000-square-foot, single-story facility at 3170 Belmont Ave.

“This may be the most mission-driven project that we could embark upon as a ministry,” Luellen said. “When you look at our mission, our mission is, in part, to serve those who are most in need, specifically to bring good health to those who are in need. That is exactly what this project intends to do; it’s to serve some of the most disadvantaged in our community in a facility that respects them as individuals.”

Dr. John Luellen, president of Mercy Health – Lorain and Youngstown.

The new facility will sit adjacent to the Mercy Health Rehabilitation Hospital, which is currently under construction and expected to open this fall. That facility will serve those who need physical rehabilitation following traumatic brain injuries from an accident or stroke, while this separate facility will help those grappling with mental illness. 

The 11-acre campus continues efforts to enhance the Belmont Avenue corridor.

Construction continues on Mercy Health Rehabilitation Hospital, which is scheduled to open this fall and will sit adjacent to the new Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital.

To create this new facility and expand on Mercy Health’s services, the local hospital has partnered with Russ Bailey, president of Lifepoint Behavioral Health and Lifepoint Rehabilitation, for the expansion of services for the Mahoning Valley.

Luellen said the joint venture helps to merge Lifepoint’s national expertise with Mercy Health’s long-standing local mission.

Lifepoint Health strives to provide compassionate care for those who need behavioral health, operating 24 similar behavioral health hospital units as joint ventures, according to Bailey.

“Our patient-centered programs address specific needs for various populations, including adolescents, adult and geriatric. And that is what we’re going to be doing here,” Bailey said, noting that this facility will serve the crisis and acute mental health needs of the Mahoning Valley. 

An artist’s rendering of the new Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital.

Those served at this facility will be aided in digging deep into the root causes of their illnesses, learning coping mechanisms to use post-discharge and working individually and in groups on their recovery.

“We also know that behavioral health is not a one and done component – it’s a journey. And with that journey we need to make sure that there is continuum care, step down services,” Bailey said. “So not only will we be able to have inpatient crisis stabilization needs at this building behind us, but also partial hospitalization programs and intensive hospital programs that will continue to serve the needs of those individuals through their behavioral health journey.”

Specifically designed to create a therapeutic environment, the behavioral health center will be the place for those who need compassionate, comprehensive and intensive psychiatric care, according to Bailey. 

Russ Bailey, president of Lifepoint Behavioral Health and Lifepoint Rehabilitation.

The building was designed by architect Stengel Hill of Louisville, Ky., while Massaro Construction Group of Pittsburgh will be the general contractor for the project, the same contractor currently working on the rehabilitation hospital next to it.

The new Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital is projected to open in summer 2025.

Pictured at top: Ground was broken Tuesday afternoon on the new Mercy Health Behavioral Hospital. From left are Dr. John Luellen, president of Mercy Health – Lorain and Youngstown; Russ Bailey, president of Lifepoint Behavioral Health and Lifepoint Rehabilitation; Denise Sullivan, regional vice president of operations for Lifepoint; Dustin Tolson, nurse manager for Mercy Health Behavioral; Suzette Miller, director of behavioral health services for Mercy Health; Kathy Harley, president of St. Elizabeth Youngstown campus; Dr. Jeremy Musher, Lifepoint chief behavioral medical officer; Cleve Haralson, Lifepoint senior vice president of joint ventures and strategic services; Kelly Sorice, Lifepoint chief administrative officer of behavioral health and rehabilitation; and Bill Hanlon, chief financial officer of St. Elizabeth Youngstown.

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