UnityPoint Health-Eyerly Ball Announces $10.4 Million Project to Centralize Mental Health Services in Des Moines

UnityPoint Health-Eyerly Ball in Des Moines

UnityPoint Health-Eyerly Ball in Des Moines has announced that it will invest $10.4 million in a groundbreaking project to address the rising demand for mental health services in Central Iowa.

The company’s goal is to bring together and extend its one-stop mental and behavioral health services in Des Moines.

Cynthia Steidl Bishop, CEO of Eyerly Ball, said that the move was an urgent one which needed to be taken because the need for psychiatric treatment was escalating.

According to her, “There is a growing need still.” “This building and expansion will help with the problem,” said Steidl Bishop.

As part of this ambitious project, a two-storey 15,000 square foot community mental health facility will be built on Pennsylvania Avenue opening early 2025.

Although there is no set date for when construction will begin, the officials are committed to giving one-stop shop for mental health services.

The new center for mental health care will replace Eyerly Ball’s two other existing Des Moines centers on Center Street as well as 19th Street.

The Center Street location would become an administrative building while plans were underway to sell the 19th Street facility, Steidl Bishop confirmed.

The remaining funds from this project are going towards revamping two floors of Penn Medical Plaza situated at Pennsylvania Avenue close to the new clinic’s site.

These renovated spaces instead of direct patient care will contain offices for care coordination staff focused on community outreach.

Of this total cost, Steidl Bishop noted that grants from state and local officials have covered $4.4million.

She specifically mentions that “$2 million came from Polk County Board of Supervisors through American Rescue Plan Act and another $2.4 million from state infrastructure grant.”

To bridge the remaining financial gap left by these grants, Eyerly Ball is launching a capital campaign seeking $500,000.

This money will go towards some aspects of erecting the building as well as doing repairs in the Penn Medical Plaza.

“Local and state support was essential to the success of this project,” Steidl Bishop concluded.

This new mental health care facility will consolidate all of Eyerly Ball’s client-facing services, including outpatient programs and a peer drop-in center.

Furthermore, the organization will have an in-house pharmacy within the new building for the first time.

Additionally, through expansion more mental health providers can be hired while creating a larger space to operate from that would address particular children’s mental and behavioral health demands.

Substance use-related services would also be expanded with the inclusion medication assisted treatment for patients.

The new clinic is ideally located across Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines as this will accord patients easy access to its emergency department, inpatient psychiatric services, and outpatient programs.

It will also be conveniently located near UnityPoint Clinic Behavioral Health Urgent Care which promotes a comprehensive continuum of care.

According to Steidl Bishop, this location was purposely chosen so that all UnityPoint Health behavioral health services are available at one campus for clients.

This initiative comes at such a critical time when the demand for mental health care has surged dramatically in Iowa and across the country.

After 2020 pandemic projections suggest, there is an increase in the number of affected people with one out of four Iowans suffering from mental health challenges as opposed to the historical one out of five, according to NAMI Iowa.

Iowa experiences a sharp shortage of mental health professionals with 89 out of 99 counties designated as Mental Health Professional Shor- tage Areas by the U.S. Health and Resources Administration.

This shortage is also apparent in essential community-based clinical and social services required by individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five U.S. adults experiences some form of mental illness annually, whereas one in every twenty suffers a serious mental illness condition.

Further, one sixth of children between the ages of six and seventeen suffer a mental disorder each year.

UnityPoint Health-Eyerly Ball’s visionary project is a significant move towards addressing the growing need for mental health services by providing a centralized, integrated approach that will improve access and care for all members in this community.

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