Photo courtesy of Steve Shell
The Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital as it stands on Sierra Centre Parkway in South Reno. The hospital will be the first psychiatric ward located in Reno in 35 years.

For the first time in 35 years, a new psychiatric ward is going to open in Reno.

Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is opening in the next few weeks on Sierra Centre Parkway in South Reno to provide psychiatric care to those suffering from mental illness — including behavioral health and addiction recovery.

The facility will be able to provide care to children, adolescents, adults and seniors. The hospital will also offer inpatient and outpatient treatment in several different areas of mental health care.

According to CEO of Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital Steve Shell, the facility’s purpose is to improve mental health care within the community.

“Unfortunately, Nevada ranks 50th in mental health according to a 2017 report by Mental Health America,” Shell said. “When we open in a few weeks, our purpose will be to raise the standard for mental health and addiction services in our community and give people another option for their treatment that has been lacking for many years.”

The creators of this new facility are not the only ones who feel mental health has not been a priority within the healthcare system. Faculty and students of the university alike believe that mental health care is something that needs to be improved.

Professor Barbara Kohlenberg of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the university said that while she does not know much about the new facility, it is exciting to have as an addition to the Reno area.

“Mental health problems and human suffering are a huge problem, and more resources are needed,” Kohlenberg said. “Compassionate and evidence-based mental health care are needed, and if this new hospital can offer more opportunities for people to receive that kind of care, then, of course, it is an asset for our community.”

Shell agrees and says another goal of Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is to provide education within the realm of mental health.

“In addition to behavioral health services, we will eventually provide support groups and education,” Shell said. “Once open and fully functional, Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is prepared to take a lead role in advocating for mental health and addiction services in the community.”

Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is currently hiring for various positions before its opening in early March. Although not currently securing any type of relationship with the university’s medical department, Shell says it is not out of the question.

“We welcome a positive working relationship in the future,” Shell said. “I could eventually foresee various partnerships with the School of Medicine and other university departments including Nursing and Social Work.”

Olivia Ali can be reached at mpurdue@sagebrush.unr and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.