CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– Penn Highlands Healthcare is preparing to open a new state-of-the-art behavioral health center at Penn Highlands DuBois East.

The center is the result of a twenty-two million dollar plan to offer inpatient and outpatient care to children and adolescents to help them manage their emotions and life situations. Vice President of Behavioral Health Services for Penn Highlands Healthcare Richard Nenneau says that the center will revolutionize mental healthcare in the area.

“The need is great the resources are few and we think that we have a considerable amount to contribute,” Nenneau says. “Especially with the cutting edge therapeutics that will be utilized here at the stern center.”

The building is designed to keep patients safe and comfortable. It has a total of forty-four beds for children and adolescents, and multiple sensory and quiet rooms. A walk-in clinic will also be available for children and adults in crisis.

Children specifically will have access to play therapy rooms, a classroom with an on-site teacher for extended stays and a gym.

“I think that we’re just beginning a national conversation on the mental health needs for children and adolescents. I think that beyond covid we are seeing a surge in the need for mental health services for children. We expect that will continue in the future,” Nenneau said.

The center hopes to fully open its doors in September as they are still waiting on the delivery of some therapeutic equipment. The next phase of the project will cost a total of thirty-nine million dollars to offer one hundred and eighteen child and adult beds.

Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter

“You know when we talk about our patients we’re not talking about somebody else over there who needs something that we can’t understand,” says System Wide Medical Director for Penn Highlands Behavioral Medicine Kevin Patterson. “We’re talking about you, and your parents, and your kids and your friends.”