Local Mental Health Services Expand as LewisGale Hospital Pulaski Breaks Ground on New Behavioral Health Unit

LewisGale Hospital Pulaski began construction this week on a new 16-bed Adult Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit at the hospital to support area residents experiencing mental health and addiction issues. The addition of Behavioral Health Care will result in 25 new jobs coming to the community.

Opening in late summer, LewisGale officials say the new facility is a combination of new construction and renovation of existing space, resulting in 8,000-square feet devoted to patient health and treatment. The completed unit will feature individual therapy space, physician, nursing and staff offices, a dining area, as well as group and courtyard activity space.

LewisGale Hospital Pulaski CEO Sean Pressman addresses Wednesday’s groundbreaking event while Dr. Ben Davidson, the hospital’s Chief of Staff looks on. (Mike Williams photo)

“The new Behavioral Health Program at LewisGale Hospital Pulaski will enable our medical staff here to offer comprehensive behavioral health services for the first time,” explained Sean Pressman, CEO of LewisGale Hospital Pulaski during Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony – held outside near the site of a planned entrance to the facility despite windy conditions in the mid-20’s.

“There is a demonstrated and growing need for additional mental health services in our community, and throughout Southwest Virginia. This new facility will enable patients to receive treatment close to home and near the support of family and friends.”

The new unit will be separate and secure from the existing hospital, and will be accessed via a separate entrance adjacent to the main Hospital entrance. A team of physicians, nurses and mental health professionals – including social workers, recreational therapists and dietitians – will staff the unit and provide a wide range of treatment.

Pressman said one change residents of Pulaski have witnessed most recently and experienced together is the growing need for mental health services across Pulaski and Southwest Virginia.

“Patients experiencing mental distress – whether related to addiction or any number of other issues – need and deserve access to mental health services in this community. Until now that has not existed. I am so pleased and excited for this community,” Pressman added.

He added the addition of the Behavioral Health Unit at the hospital will allow residents of the community to receive care with their family and friends nearby, rather than having to be treated at facilities sometimes hours away.

“In the roll-up to this program, we heard from family members, patients, from major employers, law enforcement and physicians about the need for these services here,” Pressman continued.

Dr. Ben Davidson, the hospital’s Chief of Staff and Medical Director of Emergency Services, called the groundbreaking event a “momentous day for the hospital” in which “a very important need is being met.”

Gary Hancock, a Pulaski attorney and chairman of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, told those attending the event that he has been a resident of Pulaski for 42 years.

“During those years there has been one constant, that we are indeed a fortunate community to have LewisGale Hospital Pulaski as a part of our community,” he stated. “The hospital is one of our greatest assets.”

By MIKE WILLIAMS. The Patriot