BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Mercy Health is teaming up with Havenwyck Hospital out of Auburn Hills, an affiliate of Universal Health Services, to build a new mental health facility on Mercy’s Southwest Campus.

This comes after Havenwyck Hospital was issued a state Certificate of Need Proposed Decision on Monday. The certificate tentatively approves development of a new inpatient behavioral health hospital at the site south of Wyoming with 60 adult inpatient beds. The facility can also include space the development of 24 additional beds for geriatric psychiatric patients, plus space for future expansion. 

“We’ve recognized for years that there is an unmet need for inpatient behavioral health services in the greater Grand Rapids community,” Dr. Matt Biersack who serves as the interim president and chief medical officer at Mercy Health, said.

Biersack says the hospital formed this partnership to quell the growing need for mental health services in the area. He said the issue has been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

“If we think about the stressors that come with isolation, the stressors that come with uncertainty about jobs, around child care and being able to provide a education for our kids,” Biersack listed, “all of these things have compiled over the last year and what’s come of that is worsening mental health.”

Other local mental health facilities say they have seen the growing need, too. Pine Rest Christian Health Services says in 2020, it saw an 8% increase in outpatient services and a 19% increase in inpatient services. It said it also saw more kids in need this past year.

Mercy Health and Havenwyck Hospital are hoping the new facility will help provide more options for people in need.

“Even though we operate our own inpatient psychiatric unit that has 28 beds, we operate that at or near capacity and we really see that on a daily basis,” Biersack said. “This partnership will add up to 96 beds here in the initial stages but even then, we think we may not even be meeting the full need for inpatient services in the community.”

Mercy says the project is still in its beginning stages so it does not have renderings yet. Pending final approvals, it plans to open and begin offering mental health care at the new facility in the spring of 2023.