New hospital in Mesa seeks to address bed shortage for mental health patients

Reporter: Maritza Dominguez, Arizona Republic

Acadia Healthcare is looking to address the Valley’s shortage of beds for mental health patients with a new 100-bed inpatient treatment facility in southeast Mesa.

Mayor John Giles and Dr. Jeffrey Woods, operations group president of Acadia Healthcare, broke ground on the 72,000-square-foot Agave Ridge Behavioral Hospital along Ellsworth Road and Peterson Avenue.

Woods told The Arizona Republic that Acadia Healthcare is investing $55 million in the new facility that is set to be completed in 14 to 16 months.

The hospital will have five units that focus on giving care to patients with mental health illnesses and substance abuse struggles.

In Arizona, it’s estimated over 1 million people deal with a mental health illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The hope is to continue reducing the stigma toward receiving mental health care, Woods said.

In metro Phoenix there is a nearly 900-bed shortage for mental health patients, Woods said. That means those dealing with substance abuse or mental health illness have a harder time finding the care they need. That can end with people needing care in the wrong facilities such as jails, Wood said.

Valleywise Health’s closure of five inpatient psychiatric units in December added to that shortage, one Woods and Acadia Healthcare hope will now ease. Acadia is also wrapping up on a 53-bed expansion to its Chandler hospital.

The new facilities will bring nearly 250 jobs to Mesa, from housekeeping to clinical positions, according to Woods. Interested applicants can keep an eye out for future job fairs within the next six to eight months as construction gets underway.

What type of care will Mesa facility offer?

Patients at the hospital will be admitted on a voluntary basis or come from emergency rooms from nearby hospitals. The hospital will have five units that include adult, geriatric and pediatric units.

Two of the adult units will specialize in treatment for patients with mood or thought disorders. Mood disorders will help those dealing with depression, anxiety, bipolar diagnosis, among other disorders. Thought disorders can include treatment for patients with schizophrenia.