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Health & Medicine

UnityPlace Plans $24M Child Behavioral Health Services Expansion in Peoria

Tim Shelley
Dean Steiner, chief operating officer of UnityPoint Health - UnityPlace in Peoria, speaks to media on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

A new child behavioral health center is among the projects included in a new wave of congressional earmarks.

UnityPoint Health - UnityPlace wants to expand its social-emotional offerings in Peoria with a new Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center.

UnityPlace chief operating officer Dean Steiner says there's a real need.

"What we're seeing, especially post-pandemic, is an increase in anxiety and depression and a struggling with being able to cope with day-to-day events," Steiner said.

If constructed, the new $24 million facility would double the current square footage available for child behavioral health services; and nearly double the number of inpatient beds from the 23 currently available.

"The need for additional inpatient beds is strong," Steiner said. "The need for outpatient services remains strong as well. Again, national, state, and local."

Steiner says more space also means providing more services not currently available.

"One of the things that we've identified for our inpatient areas is we do not have the space to offer things like art therapy, and music therapy, and exercise space, and outdoor space," he said.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) has requested $6 million in federal funding for the new behavioral health center.

Steiner says there's no timeline set yet for the center's opening, with a lot of fundraising and planning work still to be done.

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