Virtual launch for $33.3 million behavioral health facility

Sandra ClarkOn the Grow, West Knox

Covenant Health and Acadia Healthcare held a “virtual groundbreaking” on Sept. 2 announcing the start of construction for East Tennessee Behavioral Health, a new psychiatric inpatient hospital in West Knoxville. The virtual webinar was attended by more than 100 community leaders and elected officials.

Speakers included Covenant Health and Acadia executives, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.

Covenant Health CEO Jim VanderSteeg told webinar attendees the new facility will help address the growing unmet need for accessible, high-quality behavioral health services in Knoxville and surrounding counties.

“Research tells us that mental disorders and challenges such as substance abuse, anxiety and depression can have significant effects on a person’s overall health – and helping people achieve optimal health is an essential part of our health system’s mission,” he said.

VanderSteeg says the $33.3 million project will continue the legacy of Peninsula, the behavioral services division of Parkwest Medical Center.

East Tennessee Behavioral Health is being built at the corner of Old Weisgarber Road and Dowell Springs Boulevard. The inpatient hospital will include 90 beds, with potential future growth of 40 additional beds. The facility also will have space for therapeutic recreational activities, including a full gymnasium, exercise and yoga space, and areas for art and music therapy.

“This project has moved swiftly,” said Neil Heatherly, chief administrative officer of Parkwest Medical Center and Peninsula. “With an estimated construction duration of 16 months or so, it’s expected to be open and caring for patients as soon as the fourth quarter of 2021.”

Dr. Jeffrey Woods of Acadia Healthcare said the hospital will offer a full continuum of care with inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient services. Treatment programs will serve adults and adolescents who struggle with acute symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders.

“Each person who enters East Tennessee Behavioral Health will be treated with dignity and respect. Our environment will be one that is welcoming and provides a refuge,” Woods said.

Burchett said, “Mental health issues touch nearly everyone, either through personal experience or knowing someone who is struggling.” He added that effective community resources are essential to helping people receive the treatment they need. Info here.

All information provided by the public relations department of Covenant Health.

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