North Tampa Behavioral Health is preparing to embark on a $9 million expansion, with 24 additional beds expected to open in January 2017 and another 24 beds to open a year later.
The center, at 29910 State Road 56 in Wesley Chapel, opened on Oct. 1, 2013. It has 75 beds and offers services for people with mental health needs including depression, addiction, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and other disorders. It has inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization programs.
The majority of the center’s patients come from Pasco and Hillsborough counties, but the facility also draws patients from 11 counties, and from out-of-state, said Abbey Brown, director of business development for the facility, which is owned by Acadia Healthcare.
The first phase of the expansion will enlarge the center’s military program, which goes by the acronym C.O.R.E., which stands for Challenge, Overcome, Restore and Empower.
No decision has been made yet about how the other 24 beds will be used, said Jameson Norton, CEO of the facility.
The center has 175 employees in its 24/7 operation, and expects to add 50 more, said Norton, who is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The military program that is being expanded is geared to the mental health needs of veterans and active members of the military, Brown said.
It’s a program the facility has built from the ground up, said Brown, who is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
“It’s a very different, unique population, with a very different and unique set of needs. Their (post-traumatic stress disorder), or depression or substance abuse might look very different than the normal civilian who hasn’t had the same experience. It just makes them different,” Brown said.
“All of us have military experience, but not only military experience, but military mental health experience,” Brown said. “We’re able to offer an amazing structure, and then within that structure, tailor the program to the individual and their needs.
“We are partnering with all of the local installations, a lot of the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), and other local installations, and we also get referrals nationwide,” she said.
“We are using all of the modalities,” Brown added, including cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy and/or accelerated resolution therapy.
“We’re using all of the ones that the Department of Defense is saying are the best practices,” Brown said.
The center provides treatment for patients 18 and older. It is organized into three units. One unit treats patients who need a higher level of acute care. Another unit focuses more on mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. The third unit focuses on longer-term patients. Some are in the facility’s 28-day substance abuse program, and others are in the C.O.R.E. program, Brown said. Patients in the military program tend to stay 30 to 90 days.
Besides providing care for patients, the center also wants to be a community resource, Brown said.
It has an internship program involving 15 students who are attending Saint Leo University or Pasco-Hernando State College, Brown said.
The center is also planning to offer more continuing education courses to area professionals.
“All of the administrators here have moved from somewhere, so they have a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and we want to bring that to the community. We’re building, as part of this, a state-of-the-art teaching area, so people will be able to come in, and we’ll offer different CEU (Continuing Education Unit) trainings, different community events,” Brown said.
The facility also aims to help raise awareness and increase understanding about mental health issues, both Brown and Norton said.
“We all probably have a friend or a family member who are very affected by a mental health condition. It really takes that team effort to make sure that we can provide the best care possible,” Norton said.
Published March 9, 2016