Facility opens doors to new adolescent unit, resources to address mental health

Published: Aug. 6, 2023 at 5:40 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2023 at 11:10 PM EDT
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LADSON, S.C. (WCSC) - Trident Medical Center’s Live Oak Mental Health and Wellness building opened a brand-new adolescent unit on Sunday.

The 15-bed unit is part of the already existing 60-bed freestanding mental health hospital, but the new space will focus on treating kids ages 12 through 17.

The hospital itself is a plan years in the making, started back in 2018, undergoing construction and officially opening its doors to the public earlier this year.

“We have staff here who are equipped and prepared in their training to be able to ensure the patients receive the best care possible to upon discharge be in a better spot than when they came,” Chief Operating Officer David Was said.

The grand opening falls just a few weeks before back-to-school, a time when experts say the need for mental health resources is higher than usual.

“They’re out for summer break, they’ve been traveling with families and loved ones, so we opened this intentionally in tandem with the school year starting because we know people are back in routines,” Was said.

Children are experiencing an ongoing mental health crisis, according to statistics on the national and statewide levels.

The CDC says kids 12 through 17 have higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

A part of Live Oak’s treatment for these challenges comes from their STAGES initiative, spelling out Safety, Tolerance, Act Respectfully, Goals, Express Self and Self-Esteem.

Experts say the new unit is also a way to make sure families do not have to go far to get the help they need.

“It means that people who need help in our community here get to stay in our community here,” National Alliance on Mental Illness representative Kelly Troyer said. “And families need to be involved in treatment, not separated.”

Through social work, digital resources, group therapy, and mental assessments, experts hope the unit gives families an easier way to seek out help and move closer toward a healthier mindset for their kids.

Experts say it is important now more than ever to check in on your young ones as they transition back into school.

They say the best way to do so is not to be afraid to reach out and look for drastic changes in behavior.