GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — ECU Health has announced a partnership with Acadia Healthcare to build a behavioral health hospital in Greenville that will be operational in the spring of 2025.

In a media release Tuesday morning, ECU announced a state-of-the-art, 144-bed behavioral health hospital in the medical district of Greenville would be built less than a mile from ECU Health Medical Center. It will also include 24 inpatient beds for children and adolescents with mental health needs.

ECU Health says it will be the first of its kind in ECU Health’s 29-count coverage area and the only adolescent beds within 75 miles of Greenville. The facility will also provide patients with “important access to behavioral health services and treatment from specialized clinical teams in a carefully designed environment,” the release states.

Construction is slated to begin in 2023, pending approval on the state and regulatory level along with gaining a Certificate of Need, ECU Health officials said. The hospital will be operated through a joint venture between ECU Health and Acadia.

Officials said the two organizations will invest around $65 million in expanding behavioral health resources in Eastern North Carolina. ECU Health officials said it will transfer 80 of its current behavioral health beds to the new facility.

(ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare logos)

“This hospital will be a tremendous resource for our patients and our state, and we’re thrilled to bring a partner and a national leader like Acadia to eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, chief executive officer of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

“Acadia has an established track record of providing high-quality, compassionate care in communities across the country. Together, we will strengthen our level of expertise, implement proven best practices and enhance the quality and number of behavioral health services available to patients throughout the region.”

CLICK HERE to read more about the new behavioral center

Prior to the pandemic, there were nearly one in five North Carolinians were experiencing a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, according to a report from the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use. The media release also states “In the last two years, national data indicates a growing trend of depression and anxiety symptoms. This partnership demonstrates a commitment to talking about mental health disorders, normalizing and treating them with the latest science and medicine in appropriate care settings.”

The hospital also plans to offer teaching and training to students and residents from the Brody School of Medicine.

“As a clinician, seeing this type of investment and understanding the significant impact it will have on patients is exciting,” said Dr. Syed A. Saeed, an ECU Health board-certified psychiatrist with more than 40 years of experience. “The needs of behavioral health patients differ from other patients and vary widely even within the same diagnosis. This state-of-the-art hospital will allow us to fully meet our patients’ unique needs in a safe, patient-centered environment and ensure clinicians have the resources and training needed to deliver excellent care.”

“We are always seeking like-minded partners who share our commitment to expanding access to high-quality behavioral health services and transforming the way mental health patients are seen and cared for,” said Chris Hunter, chief executive officer of Acadia Healthcare. “Establishing a center of excellence in partnership with ECU Health presents a unique opportunity for us to support the development of the next generation of behavioral health care workers and clinicians. We’re excited to begin this important work with such a committed, patient-focused partner.”

To learn more about the potential partnership between ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare, visit ENCBehavioralHealth.org.