Southlake Regional Health Centre — one of the most overcrowded hospitals in the province — is expanding its adult inpatient mental health unit with more than $6.5 million in funding announced by the provincial government this morning.
Health Minister and Newmarket-Aurora MPP Christine Elliott was at the hospital June 15 to announce the investment that will allow the Newmarket hospital to treat 400 additional mental health patients every year when the expansion is expected to be complete in late 2022.
The funds will go toward 12 additional beds, which will bring inpatient capacity up to 28 beds, as well as private rooms, more windows for natural light and common areas.
Currently, Southlake’s mental health unit has 16 beds and an average of 17 people come through Southlake’s emergency department every day experiencing a mental health crisis, said Elliott.
“That means that the hospital inpatient program is often running at well over 100 per cent capacity,” Elliott said.
“It’s critical that Ontarians are able to access high-quality supports and services when and where they need them.”
York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney joined Elliott and Southlake president and CEO Arden Krystal for the announcement.
“There’s no doubt that expanding this unit and adding more beds will make a real difference.” Mulroney said. “These spaces will better address the demand for mental health supports and services in the community.”
Krystal said that in the year prior to the pandemic, Southlake’s emergency department saw more than 6,000 mental health visits, its adult inpatient unit had over 1,100 admissions and the mental health clinic saw more than 33,000 outpatient visits.
She said this investment and expansion will help address the growing need in the communities of northern York Region and south Simcoe County, which are among the fastest growing and aging in Ontario.
“Better spaces lead to better healing, better experiences and better outcomes,” Krystal said.
The inpatient mental health unit will continue to operate at Southlake while the expansion work is going on.