A Publication of WTVP

In 1954, what was then Methodist Hospital opened the area’s first inpatient psychiatric unit—a major milestone for our organization and for the region. Methodist was the first hospital in downstate Illinois to provide behavioral healthcare. It gave the community access to much-needed services close to home, in the comfort of a hospital they already knew and trusted. At that moment, Methodist made a commitment to delivering behavioral healthcare differently.

We believe in supporting the minds, bodies and spirits of those we care for. Today, as UnityPoint Health – Peoria, we’re building on our long history of leadership in behavioral health with plans to make a significant investment designed to enhance the way care is delivered.

An important part of our investment will be focused on child and adolescent behavioral health services. In 1988, Methodist became the first local hospital to separate adolescent inpatient services from adult inpatient services. We did it because we knew the physical environment can be a powerful tool for healing. We went a step further in 1996 when we created a behavioral health inpatient program for children. And now, we’re building on those steps with a new vision for our inpatient services.

Over the next year, we plan to begin making a multi-million dollar investment in our facilities with the goal of creating a home-like environment for healing that’s unique to the region. Our Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center will be a truly therapeutic place, designed to support best practices in caring for our community’s youngest members. It will incorporate recreation areas, activities like art and music, quiet spaces and access to the outdoors. There will be designated areas for different age groups, spaces for family and quiet retreats. All of this will be designed in a way that supports the therapies we provide to patients and families. When finished, we believe this will be a truly unique place where children and adolescents receive life-changing care in an environment that makes them feel safe.

This investment is an important next step for UnityPoint Health – Peoria in something we’ve been building for decades. We became a model for other health systems in 2009 when we opened the behavioral health treatment area in the Emergency Department on the Methodist campus. It’s a designated space for behavioral health emergencies, with soothing colors, low noise levels and a strong focus on safety. The Center for Senior Behavioral Health on the Proctor campus is the only place in our region with comprehensive behavioral health services designed specifically for senior citizens. And our psychiatric residency program trains the next generation of behavioral health providers, setting us apart as an organization dedicated to advancement and innovation in the field.

This vision doesn’t stop with child and adolescent behavioral health services. We have similar plans around adult and senior behavioral health and addiction services. I look forward to sharing more on that with you in my next column. Over the course of the next year, we’ll be working to finalize our plans. When we’re finished, I’m confident we’ll bring forth something that will make an important difference in the lives of families across our region and continue to promote the health of our communities. iBi