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MercyOne hospital in Mason City

After nearly two years and $10.6 million, MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center is opening a 27,200 square foot behavioral health center.

At the public dedication ceremony, on June 8 at 2 p.m., visitors will be able to explore the addition next to MercyOne's Emergency Department and see the three-dozen or so rooms that will house behavioral health patients.

The layout of the new facility is based, partially, on trips that the MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center Behavioral Team made to similar facilities in the region.

The first floor of the building will include a community space and resource center that will help provide info to those with questions about mental illnesses while the second level will have more private rooms for adolescents and adults. Per a release from MercyOne: Additional privacy in rooms can help with availability for potential patients. In effect, the addition of private rooms can help MercyOne facilitate more people.

Senior Vice President of MercyOne Medical Group North Iowa Dr. Teresa Mock said that the rooms will also help decrease stress for patients.

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"Diminished patient stress means more opportunity for positive response to the care they are receiving," she said.

The new center will help MercyOne to increase the number of behavioral health care services it can offer to those in the community struggling with mental illness and substance abuse issues, according to Director of Behavioral Health Care Rose Brantner.

Over time, the term behavioral health has come to mean a way of spotlighting well-being by working to mitigate the effects of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety as well as substance abuse and other related addictions. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness calculates that "one in five adults or roughly 600,000 Iowans live with some form of mental illness." More specifically, "about 37,000 grapple with serious mental illness daily."

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