New Center Coming to Transform Regional South Suburbs Youth Mental Health Care

World Mental Health Day
“World Mental Health Day” by Michael Driver is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Tinley Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Waking up each day with a mood disorder, depression or other mental and behavioral health challenge can be devastating for anyone, especially children. And too often, when the problem worsens and they need acute care, there is no room for them at area hospitals. Youth mental health and behavioral health services, in general, have all but vanished from the South Suburbs. Even Rush University Medical Center in Chicago recently decided to permanently close its 15-bed child and adolescent unit.

That could be about to change in the South Suburbs.

Palos Behavior Health Professionals, PBHP, a prominent south suburban behavioral health care practice, joined with State Sen. Michael E. Hastings, D-Tinley Park, today to announce exciting plans for a 30-bed acute care psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents in Tinley Park.

The proposed MIRA Neuro-Behavioral Health Center for Children and Adolescents is scheduled for review by the state’s Health Facilities and Services Review Board in September. If approved there, remodeling of the existing building where the center is planned at 6775 Prosperi Drive in Tinley Park would start this fall. Outpatient services could begin next winter, followed some acute care hospital beds open next June.

The center would be at full capacity by January 2021.

Future home of MIRA Neuro-Behavioral Health Center for Children and Adolescents, Youth mental health
The future home of MIRA Neuro-Behavioral Health Center for Children and Adolescents (Google Maps Street View)

A representative from PBHP tells eNews Park Forest that MIRA will treat youth from the region. The new center will also receive state funding to do so. This marks an important step in mental health services returning to the South Suburbs.

The center aims to address a serious deficiency in the Chicagoland area of access to care for youth facing mental illness crises. The lack of care options impacts everyone, from doctors and counselors to teachers and parents of children facing the challenges. Advocates say MIRA will make care readily accessible for doctors and families in the region, and provide specialized care at a lower cost that no other hospital or outpatient facility provides for youth in Chicagoland for 3 million people.

The project has broad support, with 44 community letters of support from area mayors, elected officials and health care providers. The project is expected to be considered for approval at the Health Facilities’ Sept. 17 board meeting: MIRA Neuro Behavioral Health Center for Children & Adolescents, Tinley Park.

“It is crucial to have a place where children and their families have confident [sic] that appropriate care is available when they are facing an acute mental or behavioral health crisis,” said Dr. Chris Higgins of Palos Behavioral Health Professionals, a successful behavioral psychology practice in Palos Heights with more than 30 care providers specializing in youth with acute mental illness that will build the new facility. “This is the final piece in our ability to provide the continuum of care for youth in our community and around the region. We appreciate the support of Sen. Hastings and many other elected officials and care providers in our area who see MIRA as transformative for better care for our next generation.”

Sen. Hastings, who has led efforts at the Statehouse to renew focus on improving mental health care through a package called the March to Mental Health, said he fully supports MIRA as essential to addressing the needs of youth suffering from problems that need specialized care not available today.

“Too many children are dealing with painful mental and behavioral health challenges that ruin their quality of life. Too many family’s lives are torn apart and devastated because their children are facing overwhelming struggles. Too often, there is nowhere to turn,” Hastings said. “Today, we are providing new hope that tomorrow will be better for children and families throughout the south suburbs and our region. “Dr. Higgins and his team deserve a tremendous thank you for their vision to bring this innovative care center to our community, and their determination to let no child slip through the cracks. We look forward to this project receiving an enthusiastic thumbs up in September from the Health Facilities Board and seeing lives changed for the better, right here in Tinley Park.”

This original release is from State Senator Mike Hasting’s office with additional reporting by Gary Kopycinski.